France’s environment minister SégolÃ¨ne Royal yesterday launched construction of the country’s first road paved with photovoltaic panels, claiming the 1-km stretch could light a town of 5,000 people.
The experimental road will be laid at Tourouvre-au-Perche, in the Orne region of northwestern France.
Specially designed rugged panels developed by French road construction group Colas will be installed on a 1-km stretch of Orne’s departmental route number 5. Vehicles of all types can drive over them, Royal’s ministry said.
With a width of 2m, the road is expected to generate 17,963 kwh per day, enough to light a town of 5000 inhabitants.
France plans eventually to pave 1,000km of roads with solar panels.
In July Royal inaugurated the factory that will produce the Wattway solar paving panels.
The contract to fabricate the road tiles was won by Société Nouvelle Areacem (SNA), a maker of DVDs and photovoltaic panels.
The design for the product was invented by Colas and the National Institute of Solar Energy after a five-year research project.
Image: French environment minister SégolÃ¨ne Royal launching construction of the country’s first road paved with photovoltaic panels on 24 October 2016 (Arnaud Bouissou/MEEM)