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Crowdfunding campaign raises $2.2M to build solar roadways

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It’s crazy. It’ll never work. They cost too much. They’ll crack. They’re too delicate. You’ll slide off them. Oil companies will never let it happen.

Scott Brusaw, an electrical engineer from Idaho, has heard it all before. Over the past eight years, skeptics (like this one) have been telling him his concept for solar roadways — replacing America’s roads with solar panels, creating a power grid where pavement used to be — won’t work. But Brusaw suddenly has a reason why it will — actually, 2.2 million of them.

Solar Roadways’ crowdfunding campaign, which closed on Monday, raised $2.2 million — more than double what Brusaw was seeking — in just two months. The campaign, the most popular in Indiegogo’s history, attracted more than 48,000 backers from all 50 states and 165 countries.

“It’s been humbling,” Brusaw, 56, told Yahoo News. “Really, really humbling.”

The success can be attributed, in part, to a cheeky seven-minute video (“Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways!”) that has been viewed more than 16 million times on YouTube. The campaign was also given a lift by celebrity Twitter endorsements from George Takei and Sean Lennon.

Brusaw, who launched Solar Roadways with his wife, Julie, says the funds will be used to open an office, hire staffers and test his prototype in Sandpoint, Idaho, which wants to be the first city to have them.

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