The French village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France, becomes home to the world’s first solar panel road. It is taking solar paneling from the roof to the street.
The panels have been paved with a protective resin that includes fine sheets of silicon so that they can withstand the weight of 2,000 vehicles that drive the road every day while safeguarding there is good grip between the roadway and tires.
If the test proves successful, Ségolène Royal wants to install the panels in one out of every 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of French highway in the country but there are drawbacks to the panels.
The road is made of 30,000 square feet of solar panels.
The road solar panels cost more than typical panels, with the 1-km road costing $5.2 million alone, and, since they lay flat, they are less efficient than angled panels on rooftops.
The value of renewable energy technologies has fallen badly in recent years.
The road’s manufacturer Company “Colas”, is hoping to reduce the price of the production of road panels.
It’s also currently working on 100 other small solar projects, half in France and the half from abroad.
The road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity a year
While the daily production will differ according to seasons and weather.
It is supposed to reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in summer.
France currently has a total of 1 million kilometers (621,000 miles) of the road.
The panels cover an area of 2,800 sqm m (9,186 sq ft).
The stretch of road project value cost 5 million Euros (US$5.2 million/£4.2m/$5.1) to develop and was financed by the French government.
Marc Jedliczka, vice-president of Network for Energetic Transition (CLER), told Le Monde that “It’s, without a doubt, a technical advance, but in order to develop renewables there are other preferences than a gadget of which we are more certain that it’s very costly than the fact it works.”
The road convert energy from the sun into electricity.
Ségolène Royal inaugurates the solar panel road
The ‘Wattway’ road covered by 2,800 sq m (9,186 sq ft) of panels and was revealed on Thursday at an inauguration function attended by French minister for Energy, Ecology, and Sustainable Development Ségolène Royal.
The 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is covered with 2,880 photovoltaic panels.
It is hoped that the the Wattway technology could finally provide enough energy to power street lightening in the town of 3,400 residents over the next two years.
A few 2,000 motorists will use the RD5 road daily during a 2-year test period.
During that period, evaluation will be made as to whether the road is capable of generating enough power to entire village’s street lights.
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