Thieves attack China’s new solar expressway

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.

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