France Pushing Solar Roads Forwards

Solar Roads Could be the Future of PV!

A number of months ago a number of new outlets were talking about the possibility of solar roads. Well it seems that the time of implementation is nearly here!

French energy minister Ségolène Royal has inaugurated a manufacturing plant that will produce the so-called “Wattway” paving. The road is to be made from solar PV cells! Awsome! A pilot project is due to get underway on a 1km of road at some point in the near future.

The Wattway panels can be installed directly on existing pavements and roads and will generate clean, green energy,p>On 26 July French energy minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated a manufacturing unit for the Wattway photovoltaic panels in Tourouvre, Orne. A French innovation Wattway has been in development for 5 years with the research and development being undertaken by Colas and INES.

The joint patent for the product is based on crystalline silicon, and although it is very thin, Colas argues it is also “very sturdy, skid-resistant and designed to last,” with the durability to bear all types of vehicles, including trucks.Orders are already being taken for the solar road panels, which range from 10m2 to 50m2. Which in anyone’s book is a big panel!

One of the first applications of the Wattway panels will be a 1 kilometer road in the Onre region, the local council has announced.

The product has gained the backing of the French government to the tune of €5 million of state funding. A Wattway panel, said Colas, can last “at least 10 years depending on the traffic, which speeds up wear. If the section is not covered by heavy traffic – a stadium parking lot for example – then Wattway panels can last roughly 20 years.”,p>Furthermore, “given the technical issues involved in the connection process, the panels need to be installed by an authorized technician,” added Colas, who also expressed that “within the next two to three years, it will be possible to install Wattway panels on private roads and driveways.”

Here at TGG we will be keeping a close eye on developments and laying roads could be our next venture!