road paved with solar panels powers french town
On Thursday, France launched the world\'s first \"solar highway,\" which laid solar panels that provided enough energy for street lights in the Normandy town of turuffler. The one-kilometre (half-mile)
\"Wattway\" covering 2,800 \"(
30,000 square feet)of resin-
With the attention of Environment Minister Segolene Royal, coated solar panels are connected to the local power grid.
\"This new use of solar energy takes advantage of a large number of road infrastructure already in use. . .
\"Generate electricity without taking up new real estate,\" Royal said in a statement . \".
The minister announced
In the national solar highway deployment program, there are preliminary projects in western Brittany and southern Marseille.
On average, 2,000 cars per day use the road during tours, testing the panel resistance of projects carried out by French civil engineering company Colas, a subsidiary of construction giant Bouygues.
The idea is also being explored in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, where roads are only occupied by cars for about 20% of the time, providing a broad surface to absorb sunlight.
In theory, France could become an independent energy nation by laying millions of kilometers of roads with solar panels, Colas said.
Skeptics are waiting to see if panels can withstand the damage of time and weather, and the blows they will take from big trucks.
Installed in 70-
TNO of the project said that last winter, a one-meter-long section of a bicycle lane north of Amsterdam suffered some damage, but the problem has been solved.
The Wattway project, which received a state subsidy of 5 million euros (dollars)
Starting at four pilot sites across France, in front of a parking lot or public building, the area of each site is much smaller, between 50 and 100.
One drawback of the system is that when solar panels are at a certain angle to the sun, they are usually on a sloping roof and are more effective than when they are flat.
The cost problem is far from being solved. Each kilowatt-peak --
Unit of measurement of solar energy--
Wattway currently costs 17 euros in production compared to 1 euro.
Large rooftop facilities for € 30.
But Colas wants to make costs competitive by 2020, noting that, according to the French renewable energy association SER, the cost of producing solar energy fell by 60% between 2009 and 2015.
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