France unveils world’s first solar panel road in Tourouvre-au-Perche

  • 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road is located in Tourouvre-au-Perche
  • Some 2,880 photovoltaic panels convert solar energy into electricity
  • The road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity a year  

A solar panel road, claimed to be the world’s first, has opened in France.

The 0.6 miles (1km) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 solar panels, which convert energy from the sun into electricity.

It is hoped that the the road could eventually provide enough energy to power the small village’s street lights.  


A solar panel road, claimed to be the world’s first, has opened in France. The 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 photovoltaic panels

THE ‘WATTWAY’

The 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 photovoltaic panels.

The panels cover an area of  2,800 sq m (9,186 sq ft).

Some 2,000 motorists will use the RD5 road every day during a two-year test period.

It is hoped that it will eventually harness enough energy to power the village’s street lights. 

The road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity a year.

While the daily production will fluctuate according to weather and seasons, it is expected to reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in summer.

The ‘Wattway’ road features 2,800 sq m (9,186 sq ft) of panels and was showcased today at an inauguration ceremony attended by French minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal.

The road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity a year.

While the daily production will fluctuate according to weather and seasons, it is expected to reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in summer.

Some 2,000 motorists will use the RD5 road every day during a two-year test period.

During that time, assessments will be made as to whether the road is capable of generating enough power to run the village’s street lights.  

Tourouvre-au-Perchef is home to around 3,400 residents. 

The project is said to have cost €5m (£4.2m/$5.1) and was financed by the French government.


It is hoped that the the road, which is paved with photovoltaic panels, could eventually provide enough energy to power the small villages street lights


Some 2,000 motorists will use the RD5 road every day during a two-year test period. During that time, assessments will be made as to whether the road is capable of generating enough power to run the village’s street lights


The 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 photovoltaic panels 

It forms part of a four-year plan to introduce more solar roads, with the next scheduled for western Brittany and southern Marseille. 

Prior to the unveiling of the solar road, the panels were tested at four car parks across France. 

The constructor was Colas, part of giant telecoms group Bouygues, and financed by the state. 

Colas said that in theory France could become energy independent by paving only a quarter of its roads with solar panels.

One drawback of the system is that solar panels are more effective when angled towards the sun, typically on slanted rooftops, than when they are laid flat. 

They are also less useful on busy roads because they will not generate electricity if they are in the shadow of slow-moving traffic.  


The 0.6 miles (1km) stretch of road is located in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 solar panels, which convert energy from the sun into electricity


The ‘Wattway’ road features 2,800 sq m (9,186 sq ft) of panels and was showcased today at an inauguration ceremony attended by French minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal (pictured)

Wattway Director Jean-Charles Broizat said: ‘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 panels installing process as well as their manufacturing, in order to keep on optimizing our innovation.’ 

Not only will the road’s durability will be under scrutiny, but experts will also need to establish whether the village in north western gets enough sunshine to produce enough power.

The selection of gloomy Normandy raised eyebrows among critics, who pointed out a sunnier road in the south of the country would have been a better bet for solar technology.

Caen, the regional political capital of Normandy, enjoys 44 days of bright sunshine a year compared with 170 in Marseilles in the south.

Critics have also questioned the expense of the system. Each kilowatt-peak – the unit of measure for solar energy – produced by Wattway currently costs £14.50 to generate, compared with £1.10 for a large rooftop installation, but the developers hope to make the scheme cost competitive by 2020.

Marc Jedliczka, of the sustainable energy group Network for Energetic Transition, said: ‘It’s without doubt a technical advance. But 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.’


In October, a solar-powered cycle path was opened in Poland. The track is studded with thousands of phosphor-coated crystals which emit light after being charged by the sun

French environment minister Segolene Royal, the former partner of president Francois Hollande and mother of his four children, said: ‘This new use of solar energy takes advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure to produce electricity without taking up new real estate.’ 

In October, a solar-powered cycle path was opened in Poland.

The track is studded with thousands of phosphor-coated crystals which emit light after being charged by the sun. 

The luminous cycling strip – which is 100 metres long – is located in a park near the town of Lidzbark Warminski, in the north of Poland. 

It was created by the technology firm TPA Instytut Bada? Technicznych Sp. z o.o. and is currently still in the testing phase.

TPA president Igor Ruttmar told the Polish publication Gazeta Wyborcza that the material used for their track can produce light for more than ten hours. 

The original Electric Avenue is a street in Brixton, London. Built in the 1880s, it was the first market street to be lit by electricity. It gave its name to Eddy Grant’s hit 1983 single. 







Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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