More good solar news in Idaho!

Sandpoint-based solar panel company, Solar Roadways, unveiled their first pilot project in downtown Sandpoint after much fanfare and a few glitches. The 150-square-foot, 30-panel installation is a prototype of interconnected solar panels encased in tempered glass, which the company hopes will revolutionize the way we  construct roads and parking lots, and generate electricity in the United States.

Instead of asphalt and concrete road surfaces, this company envisions a road system of durable solar panels that will support vehicle traffic while also putting to good use the solar radiation that normally just bakes the pavement.

Solar Roadways, led by Sandpoint’s own Scott and Julie Brusaw, worked together with the City of Sandpoint and others to install the new prototype in the town square, where the panels will power a nearby restroom and fountain. The city hosts a 24-hour livestream of the display.

The installation did not come without setbacks-a malfunction in the heater that seals each panel within the tempered glass resulted in two missed unveiling deadlines, and a handful of panels do not yet produce energy or light up correctly (replacement panels are in the works).

Although the Brusaws graciously apologized for the problems, no apologies were necessary. Combating the impacts of climate change requires radical innovation, and no technological solution will come without bumps (or problematic solar panels) along the road.

As Sandpoint has done, we  should support, encourage and  celebrate the failures and setbacks of our climate change innovators. Few breakthroughs come without them.