Tech Insider reported France is starting to pave their roads with solar panels. So, the talks of having it is true. The French ecology minister Segolene Royal has recently announced the plan to solarize 1,000 km or 620 miles of road within the next 5 years.
If the project is successful, it will provide power for over 5 million French people or about 8% of the population. The French civil engineering Colas is developing the project called “Wattway”. According to Wattway assistant developer Nicolas Griglio, their biggest challenge is how to protect the solar cells, which is 200 micrometres in thickness, while vehicles drive on it.
The Wattway is designed and made with a grippy surface to reduce the chance of skidding and accidents. The solar panels are flexible and thin enough to deal with the expansion and contraction of the pavement that happens with changes in temperature. Wattway claims that the panels is as strong as conventional road pavements – a decade with heavy use and about 20 years with light use.
Other solar projects have also emerged just recently – The Dutch town of Krommenie has a solar bike path and the United States startup Solar Roadways has raised $2.25 million on Indiegogo after its promo video went viral.
Colas stated that the Wattway team is presently developing implementation sites with public and private contractors. Wattway may be the first step to something big for France with 1,028,446 km of paved roads.
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