The world’s first solar panel road, or Wattway, has been installed in France.
The French town of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy has become home to world’s first Wattway, a road made completely of solar panels.
The French France 24 news outlet reported that the French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated the one-kilometer stretch of road on Thursday, December 22.
You would think that it wouldn’t withstand all the weight and pressure coming down on it, but it does. Over 30,000 square feet of roadway have been covered with the solar panels that have been reinforced with layers of plastic. This makes it tough enough to support around 2000 cars, the number of vehicles that typically use the road each day.
Now what is a Whattway good for? Simple. The solar panel road can generate up to 280 kilowatts of energy that will be used by the town to light up the streets and roads.
Although it’s a first of its kind, the project is a big step forward and gives hope to a world powered by sustainable energy.
The company that came up with and built the concept of the solar road have expressed their optimism, and said that they plan to build similar project in North America,Europe, Africa and Japan.
Don’t get too excited however, there still many challenges for solar roads to overcome before they become more mainstream and used on a larger scale.
The Wattway at Normandy cost 5$.2 million to build, putting each kilowatt at a cost of $17.74 while a conventional solar roof generates a kilowatt for about $1.36.
In his statement, Royal said that he hopes that France will soon reach a point where every 1000 kilometers of highway in the country contains at least one kilometer of solar cells.