• Solar Roadways, a technology that replaces conventional pavement with solar-powered panels with light and heating elements, has raised more than $2 million in startup funding through Kickstarter.com.

    Credit: Solar Roadways

    Solar Roadways, a technology that replaces conventional pavement with solar-powered panels with light and heating elements, has raised more than $2 million in startup funding through Kickstarter.com.
Public works innovators armed with more ambition than money are turning to the Internet for help in raising funds. Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and the like give them a chance to take their ideas directly to the people, in the hopes the public will be captivated enough to donate the money needed to launch their projects.

Solar Roadways is one such crowdfunding success story. The technology, created by inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw, replaces conventional pavement with solar-powered tiles that can be imparted with LEDs, heating elements, and other features to transform roads into ecofriendly marvels.

The Brusaws maintain the technology would revolutionize the way we see roads, parking lots, and sidewalks by boosting the safety and functionality of such infrastructure. However, critics say the technology is costly and not yet proven.

  • The Solar Roadways Indiegogo campaign raised more than double its $1 million initial goal.

    Credit: Solar Roadways

    The Solar Roadways Indiegogo campaign raised more than double its $1 million initial goal.
Before even setting up their campaign on Indiegogo.com, the organizers had snagged two phases of funding from the FHWA for R&D, as well as General Electric Co.’s Ecomagination Challenge award in 2010 (which came with a $50,000 prize). Further, as of press time, the Solar Roadways online campaign raised more than double its $1 million initial goal with one day left, so it looks like they don’t need any help in getting across the finish line.

There are scores of other public works-related projects worthy of your attention and, possibly, your money. 

Click through the next few pages to see a few: