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First Ever Road of Solar Panels in France

In a town called Normandy Village of France, claims to be the first ever to have laid out a solar panel roadway.  It stretches over approximately one columnar beside a main road near Tourouvre-au-Perche.  The solar panel road has close to 2800 m² of panels with a cost of €5 million.  The opening just happen today and was inaugurated by Mister Royal, France’s ecological minister.  A similar project happen in 2014 in the country of Netherlands but involved a bicycle path.  This project alone has generated 3000 kW of power.  This amount of kilowatts can provide a family of electricity for one year.  The issue is the cost to build it was much more than what the bike path can return in energy.  Like in all technology there has to be a starting point and continuation of advancements in order to improve.

Royal wants to have the solar panel to be installed alongside every French highway.  France has over 1 million km of roadway so this would be a huge task for the next decades.  The issue with the panels is that they aren’t as efficient as panels on rooftops because of the angles.  Sunrays come at an angle and rooftop panels can absorb this because it is also angled as opposed to being flat on the ground.  There is still ongoing debate especially with its high cost.  More research and testing for efficiency is the key in this project.  Another key area is the cost of panels decreasing the next few years as this will help the other hundreds of solar road projects having across France and other European nations.

Image source - Popular Mechanics (Colas Wattway) - Future is Now - 2018