Français русский язык Twitter 简体中文 English

Location:Home > News > IndustryNews Center

World’s First Solar Panel Road

Author:Infrabuddy Source:  Updated:2016-12-27 13:12:03 Clicks:
World’s First Solar Panel Road Infrabuddy The Wattway Project is a French government initiative which plans to build over 621 miles of solar panel roads over the course of the next five years. Its small demonstration is the

World’s First Solar Panel Road

Infrabuddy

The Wattway Project is a French government initiative which plans to build over 621 miles of solar panel roads over the course of the next five years. Its small demonstration is the 0.6 mile long road consisting of 2,880 solar panels opened up in the French town of Tourouvre-au-Perche has opened the world’s first solar road. The small “Wattway” road cost over $5.2 million to build.

This road is a test to see how much electricity will be generated over a course of two years. It is estimated that 2,000 vehicles will travel over the road. Because vehicle weights vary, construction crews covered the solar panels in a coating containing silicon.If this experiment works out, it is believed that the power generated by this road (which has been given the name “Wattway”) could eventually power the street lights in this French town.

However, many people are concerned over the amount it will cost to build all these roads. Other concerns are that weather (such as snow) and traffic could block the sunlight to the panels, causing them to not work efficiently.

Environment Minister Segolene Royal said that the new use of solar energy has taken advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure and is already in use to produce electricity without taking up new real estate.The minister announced a four-year “plan for the national deployment of solar highways” with initial projects in western Brittany and southern Marseille.

An average of 2,000 cars use the road in Tourouvre each day, testing the resistance of the panels for the project carried out by French civil engineering firm Colas, a subsidiary of construction giant Bouygues.

Colas says that in theory, France could become energy independent by paving only a quarter of its million kilometres of roads with solar panels. But Colas hopes to make the cost competitive by 2020, noting that the cost of producing solar energy decreased by 60 percent between 2009 and 2015.

Solar panels installed on a 70-metre stretch of a cycling lane north of Amsterdam experienced some damage last winter but the problem has been resolved, the project’s company TNO said.

The Wattway project, which has received a state subsidy of five million euros (dollars), began with four pilot sites around France, in parking lots or in front of public buildings, on much smaller surfaces of between 50 and 100 square metres each. One drawback of the system is that solar panels are more effective when angled towards the sun, typically on slanted rooftops, than when they are laid flat.

And the cost question is far from being resolved. Each kilowatt-peak — the unit of measure for solar energy — generated by Wattway currently costs 17 euros, compared with 1.30 euros for a major rooftop installation.

The idea is also under exploration in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.