In a major step forward for green renewable energy, the French government has presented plans to install solar PV on 1,000 kilometres of road over the next 5 years as stated by Inhabitat.
The government’s goal is to supply renewable power to 5 million or about 8% of the French population. The solar roads will use Wattway panels, a photovoltaic technology presented last October by the major French Civil engineering firm Colas. According to the French Minister of Ecology, Segolene Royal, the “Positive Energy” project will be funded by raining taxes on traditional fossil fuels, which is a natural decision given the low prices of oil.
The Netherlands was the first to install a solar panel-paved bicycle path in 2014. With France, the plans for the 1,000 kilometres of solar roads are the most ambitious. According to France’s Agency Environment and Energy Management, 134 feet or 4 meters of solarised road are enough to power one household’s energy needs, not including heating. One kilometre or 3,281 feet can supply enough electricity for 5,000 households.
The solarised roads will be covered with Wattaway panels. The Wattaway panels are a technology that took 5 years to develop. The panels can be glued directly on top of an existing pavement. The panels harvest solar energy using a thin film of polycrystalline silicone. The 7mm thick strips are rugged enough to withstand different types of traffic. It can also withstand the weight of a 6-axle truck and provide traction to prevent vehicles from slipping or sliding.
According to Herve Le Bouc, Colas CEO, the Wattway panels have been successfully tested on a cycle of one million vehicles or about 20 years of normal traffic road and the surface does not budge. The solar panels have withstood a snowplough test, thus proving its durability.
Featured Image Credit: Inhabitat.com