Over the last year, solar paneling has advanced a lot. Now, the conventional solar panels do not give the impression of being cool or innovative enough. Elon Musk’s SolarCity debuted solar tiles to replace heavy panels. Solar energy appears to be the ‘it’ renewable resource. The fame of solar energy has just been enhanced when France revealed the first solar road in the world.
This solar road passes through the small town of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy having a population of around 3,400 people. According to the French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, enough electricity could be produced by the road to safely power the street lamps. The cost of the 1 km road is approximately $5.2 million (5 million Euros). This technology has been created by the construction company known as “Wattway by Colas”.
The panel road must go through two years of trials and testing. Output and lifespan will be the two main components measured as to whether or not the road will become permanent during that time. Jean-Charles Broizat, director of Wattway stated, “We are still on an experimental phase. Building a trial site of this scale is a real opportunity for our innovation. This trial site has enabled us to improve our photovoltaic panel installing process as well as their manufacturing, in order to keep on optimizing our innovation.”
The weight of the cars traversing over the panels gives rise to one of the greatest concerns. It has been assessed that about 2,000 motorists will travel the road each day and despite the fact that the road certainly increases the potential of solar panels, critics still disagree with the cost efficiency.
Vice President of the Network for Energetic Transition (CLER) said in an interview, “It’s without doubt a technical advance, but in order to develop renewables there are other priorities than a gadget of which we are more certain that it’s very expensive than the fact it works.”
On the other hand, Colas, the parent company of Wattway, has already proclaimed plans to cut production and repair costs considerably. As per Wattway, the innovative product comes out of a five-year labor of love. Wattway merged Colas’ infrastructure background with the French National Institute for Solar Energy.
And as far as the concerns regarding the blockage of solar rays owing to traffic, Wattway has two answers. First, the paved roads are occupied 10 percent of the time as reported by the company. Second, it only takes 20 square meters of panelling to generate enough electricity to power a home.
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