First Solar Road Opens in France

Ruben Baart
December 28th 2016

Forget solar roofs, we have solar roads now. The world’s first solar panel road just opened in the not-so-sunny Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. Embedded with 2.800 square meters of photovoltaic panels, with a length of one kilometer, the solar path is expected to generate 280MWh per year.

The French Minister for the Environment, Ségolène Royal, inaugurated the so-called Wattway last week, as part of a bigger plan to pave 1.000 kilometers of solar roads within the next five years. Reportedly, the road will be used by 2.000 motorists every day, during a two-year test period. French officials hope the road will generate enough electricity to power streetlights in the small town of about 3.400 residents.

However, the construction of the one kilometer road cost 5 million euros, for a single lane. Doing some quick math, this means a two-lane road would lead up to a total cost measured in billions to cover a sizeable portion of the country's roads with photovoltaic panels. Perhaps those solar roofs are not such a bad idea, after all.

Source: The Guardian

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