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The World's First Solar Panel Road Belongs to France

The World's First Solar Panel Road Belongs to France

France’s Minister of Environment Ségolène Royal says the solar road is one kilometer in length and features 2,880 solar panels in Tourouvre-au-Perche.

If your vision for the future of clean energy has everything in the world covered in solar panels, you might not be too far from the truth. Solar panel technology continues to advance in different ways, like our phone and laptop screens. Maybe one day everything in the world will be outfitted with some type of solar absorption technology.


It’s certainly starting to look that way, as France just revealed the world’s very first road made from solar panels. France’s Minister of Environment Ségolène Royal says the solar road is one kilometre in length and features 2,880 solar panels in Tourouvre-au-Perche.


The road was developed by the Colas construction company’s Wattway technology and will hopefully be able to produce enough energy to power the lighting needs of some 3,400 people that live in the small village. They expect it to produce 280-megawatt hours of power each year, with daily rates fluctuating up or down based on the weather.


The road reportedly cost close to $5.2 million to build, and the construction company used a mix of resin and several layers of silicon over top of the solar panels to ensure they remain functional and resilient. Both lifespan and resilience to damage will be the main things tested over the course of the next two years.



 


“We are still on an experimental phase. Building a trial site of this scale is a real opportunity for our innovation. This trial site has enabled us to improve our photovoltaic panel installing process as well as their manufacturing, in order to keep on optimizing our innovation,” said Wattway Director Jean-Charles Broizat.


Others are not so excited about the project, saying that it cost way too much money when compared to how much money is saved in return. Marc Jedliczka, vice president of Network for Energetic Transition, says, “It’s without a doubt a technical advance, but in order to develop renewables there are other priorities than a gadget of which we are more certain that it’s very expensive than the fact it works.”


France hopes to eventually build at least 1,000 kilometres of solar panelled roads. 


What do you think of this new clean energy project? Is it a good idea or a waste of time, money and resources?

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