France is currently planning to build 1000 kilometers of road with specially designed solar panels. 5 million people in France will be supplied with electricity if it is successful. Although solar experts are skeptical of this project, the french government has given the go ahead.
According to France’s minister of ecology and energy, Ségolène Royal, the tender for this project is already issued under the “Positive Energy” initiative and the test for the solar panels will begin by this spring.The photo voltaic solar panels called “Wattway” which will be used in the project is jointly developed by the French infrastructure firm “Colas” and the National Institute for Solar Energy. The specialty of “Wattway” is that its very sturdy and can let heavy trucks pass through it, also offering a good grip to avoid an accident. Interestingly, this project will not remove road surfaces but instead, the solar panels will be glued to the existing pavement.
Such solar road project is not new, a couple from Idaho have already crowdfunded a similar prototype in 2014. The couple has managed to raise a total of $2,266,052USD for their project in a crowdfunded Indiegogo campaign. Adding that, they were granted a 2-year $750,000 contract by the Federal Highway Administration on December 2015
Last year in November, the dutch opened the first solar road that converts sunlight into electricity. Though the electricity generating road is only 100 meters long.