France has unveiled the world’s first solar panel road in a small town of Tourouvre-au-Perche. The road is about 1 kilometer long (0.6 miles), and it is covered with 2,880 photovoltaic panels. The cost of building this solar power road was about €5 million ($5.2 million), and it was inaugurated by the French Ecology Minister, Ségolène Royal.
The road, called Wattway, was built under the project engineered by French road construction company Colas.
Each year, Wattway is expected to generate 280 MWh of energy, which will be more than enough for running all of the street lights in the village of 3,400 inhabitants. On an average, per day energy generation will be about 767 kWh. However, on a summer day, it may rise to 1,500 kWh per day.
Wattway is designed to withstand even heavy duty vehicles. The solar panels consist of resin containing sheets of silicon. Wattway is not only durable but is safe for vehicles as it provides the right grip for their tires.
The French government has a goal to pave 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of its roads with solar panels.
Royal said, “The maximum effect of the program, if successful, could be to furnish 5 million people with electricity, or about 8 percent of the French population.”