Just five days after opening to traffic, the world’s first operational photovoltaic highway in China was vandalised and had sensitive parts cut away and stolen.
The 1-km-long stretch installed on a ring road around the East China city of Jinan, Shandong Province, only opened in late December.
A section of the 1-km-long solar expressway at Jinan, China (Qilu Transportation Development Group)
Now authorities are puzzling over who did the damage and stole a chunk of what Chinese state media are calling "see-through concrete", and why.
The cut appeared clean and professional, an employee of project developer Qilu Transportation Development Group was quoted as saying by a local newspaper. The vandals had also tampered with seven other solar-panel related parts, the report said.
Two lanes were temporarily closed as highway maintenance workers fixed the damage and built a protective barrier along the road.
Police have launched an investigation.
According to highway developer Pavenergy, the damage cost around $1,540, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
The photovoltaic section is made from a transparent, weight-bearing material covering solar panels.
Covering 5,875 square meters, the section can generate 1 million kilowatt-hours of power a year, or enough to meet the daily requirements of about 800 households, according to the company, Qilu.