World’s first solar panel road opens in France

The road located in a Normandy village will be used during a two-year test period by about 2,000 motorists a day.

© Slimdandy at Flickr

In a report by The Guardian, France has opened on Thursday the first ever solar panel road in the Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche.

The 1 km-long route is covered with 2,800 sqm of electricity-generating panels and costed a total of  €5m (£4.2m) to construct.

Inaugurated by the ecology minister, Ségolène Royal, the road will be used for two years with the aim to generate enough energy to power street lighting in the village of 3,400 residents.

Royal told The Guardian that “she would like to see solar panels installed on one in every 1,000km of French highway – France has a total of 1m km of roads – but panels laid on flat surfaces have been found to be less efficient than those installed on sloping areas such as roofs.”

The solar-powered road called Wattway was constructed by Colas, part of the telecoms group Bouygues, and financed by the state.

The company hopes to reduce the cost of producing the panels and is currently working on 100 other projects for solar-panelled roads in both France and abroad.

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