World’s first Solar panel road opened in France this week in a village called Tourouvre-au-Perche. The solar panels are embedded in the one kilometer, two-lane road, reports from The Guardian say.
World’s First Solar Panel Road
The kilometer long road has no shade and is therefore exposed to sunlight all day. A French company came up with the idea of embedding solar panels in the road making it the first solar panel road in the world. This is a test project, and the hope is that the solar panels installed on the road will be able to generate the right amount of electricity to light all the street lamps in the village over a period of two years. The first solar panel road was reportedly opened to traffic on December 21, 2016.
The first solar panel road was designed by Colas, a subsidiary company of the telecom giant Bouygues. Colas say that due to its composite construction, the road can withstand all kinds of cars and vehicles moving on it. The photovoltaic panels are ultra-thin and can handle the load of traffic including heavy vehicles. These panels can also adjust themselves with the expanding and contract of the pavement due to constant exposure to the sun. In the test period of two years, the road will see about 2000 vehicles every day.
In every 620 miles of traffic, French officials want to install solar panels on the entire stretch eventually. One bone of contention, however, is the cost. Colas say that to power a single home in France, 200 square feet of road needs with solar panels in it. The weather in Tourouvre-au-Perche, Normandy is not sunny. Therefore, the experiment will be worthwhile to see how much electricity can be generated in suboptimal weather conditions.
Some critics are reported to have said that the first solar panel road is not practical simply because the cost is too high. What remains to be seen is whether France goes through with the experiment.