The World's First Solar Panel Road Unveiled in Normandy, France
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The World’s First Solar Panel Road Unveiled in a French Village


World’s first solar panel road unveiled in a French village. Innovation they said would certainly rule the world, and that’s exactly what is happening at Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. The small village is determined to take solar panels off the roof to the street. The town is boasting of housing the world’s first solar panel road ever to be recorded. The 1 kilometer long route approximately 0.6 mile enclosed by 2,800 sq/km of electricity generating panels was unofficially declared opened yesterday by the country’s minister of ecology, Ségolène Royal.

French village boast itself as home to the world’s first ever solar panel road network.

WattWay - Solar panel road

While thinking about the rationale behind the solar panels being installed on a road as per longevity of the panels, the officials reported that the panels have been protected with a protective resin made of silicon sheets to assist to resist the heaviness of over 2,000 motorists which make use of the road, while taking into care the friction between the tyres and the solar panel road.

This is not the first and yet, it is not going to be the last time such an interesting idea like this has surfaced. A very similar project of such was pronounced back in 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands but the difference is, it was to be constructed on a circle path unlike this one that’s on the road.

Solar panels well-layed on a road network in Normandy, France

Solar panels well-layed on a road network at Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France.

The project is half-way up to its acceptance level and officials are really looking forward to WattWay’s answer to generating enough energy to power street lighting all across the town with 3400 residents before 2019, says The Guardian. If the project proves to be successful, the Royal would want the panel to be installed in every 1,000km (about 621 miles) of road in the country, and they currently have a total of 1 million km (approx 621,000 miles) of road network.

But there’s a problem!

The cost implication of completing a stretch of road goes for about 5 million Euros (approx US$5.2 million), leaving us room to question the project’s actual value. Here’s what Marc Jedliczka, the vice-president of Network for Energetic Transition (CLER) told Le Monde regarding it:

“It’s without 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.”

However, in its effort to reduce the cost of production of the solar panels for the road energy distribution system, Colas, the manufacturing company behind the solar panel roads, is working around the clock to make it work for a better and affordable rate. In the same vein, the company is also working on hundreds of other solar side-projects both in France and abroad.

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