France has laid claim to opening the world’s first solar road capable of carrying vehicles.
French environment minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated the kilometre-long road paved with photovoltaic panels on the RD5 at Tourouvre -au-Perche, Orne, on 22 December.
She launched construction of the road, developed by Wattway, a Colas facility, in October.
Funded by the Ministry of the Environment, one lane of the RD5 between the southern exit of Tourouvre and the crossing of the Nationale 12 is covered by 2,800 m2 of photovoltaic panels designed by Wattway.
Each slab includes 15-cm2 cells that form a thin layer of polycrystalline silicon, transforming solar energy into electricity. It is treated to provide adherence equivalent to that of traditional road mixes.
Electrical production of the first solar road is estimated at 280,000 kWh per year, which is an average estimate of street lighting in a city of 5,000 inhabitants, the government said.
The installation includes a bus shelter with solar panel, and a fast electric-charging station.
The road’s behaviour will be monitored under average car and truck traffic.
In January Royal said that the government intends to pave 1,000 km of road with photovoltaic panels in the next five years, supplying power to millions of people.
- Links: Global construction review
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