France to Pave 1,000 Km of Solar Road, Providing 5 Million With Power

February 4, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

Wattway solar roadway
Photo credit: © COLAS – Joachim Bertrand

The French government has unveiled plans to pave 1,000 Kilometres (621 Miles) of the country’s roads with solar panels over the next five years, which will ultimately supply power to millions of people.

According to France’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, a 4-meter stretch of solarized road is enough to supply one household with electricity, and one kilometre of road would be enough to supply lighting to a settlement of 5000 people. The French minister of ecology and energy has said that the government intends to proceed with the idea, which could deliver electricity to as many as 5 million people — roughly 8 percent of the French population.

Wattway solar roadway being contructed
© COLAS – Joachim Bertrand

The process of solarizing roads would involve gluing 7-millimetre-thick solar strips to the surfaces of paved roads. This technology has already been developed by the Bouygues subsidiary Colas, which revealed their Wattway panels in October 2015.

Wattway solar roadway panel
© COLAS – Joachim Bertrand

Wattway solar panels are made with a thin film of polycrystalline silicon which is durable and resistant enough to be used on both roads and highways. In fact, the traction provided by Wattway solar panels would be sufficient enough to prevent any skids on the roads.

Solarizing 1,000 kilometres of roadway is expected to cost the French government between $220 and $440 million, which they propose to pay for by raising taxes on gas in the country.

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