World's First Solar Panel Road Opens In France

France has unveiled what it’s calling the world’s first solar panel road.

The 1km stretch of road can be found in the Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche and will be used as a testbed for whether the road is able to generate enough electricity to power streetlights.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters

The road contains a staggering 2,880 individual panels and it’s hoped that it can produce around 280 MWh of electricity a year.

That should be enough electricity to power the streetlights of the neighbouring village.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters

While this isn’t the first time a company has tried to place solar panels into the floor it is the first time a company has made a fully usable road which can withstand the weight of a car.

One of its biggest tests will be durability. The road will have to survive as well as a tarmac road and is expected to be used by some 2,000 motorists every single day.

The project cost around €5m and was financed entirely by the French government.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters

France isn’t the first country to try and find creative ways of generating electricity though.

A Dutch company revealed last year a cycle path that would effectively be one giant solar panel.

Solaroad installed its experimental cycle path back in November and has now revealed that the project has been creating far more electricity than it expected.


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