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By Lauren Vadnjal
February 02, 2016
By Lauren Vadnjal
February 02, 2016

Solar power. Who needs it? Well, we do — and pretty desperately. To generate it though, we need those pesky black solar panels to be fitted to people's roofs and properties and anywhere we can find a space for them. This can be a little hard without overtaking natural environments and farmland. But France have found thousands of kilometres of space perfect for solar panels — their roads.

This idea of paving roads with solar panels was first floated by Scott and Julie Brusaw, when they launched a crowdfunding campaign to pave American parking lots with the things in 2014. But this project is a little more legit. Proposed by French transport infrastructure company Colas and France's National Institute for Solar Energy, it's been given the go-ahead by France's Agency of Environment and Energy Management. And if all goes to plan, they're promising to bring solar power to 1000-kilometres of roads in the country over the next five years.

Named the Wattway system, the 7mm photovoltaic road surface would be stuck on top of existing road surfaces. Both its thinness and ease of application to existing roads make it the best proposal yet — and seeing as roads are only occupied by vehicles only 10% of the time, they'll be soaking up a lot of sunlight too. Claiming they are "paving the way to tomorrow's energy" (nice one, guys), Colas say that a one-kilometre stretch of Wattway panels would be able to provide the electricity to power public lighting in a city of 5000 inhabitants.

According to Global Construction Review, tests on the solar roadway panels will begin this year. Let's hope the French trial is successful, and makes its way over here. As anyone who's stood barefoot on asphalt on a hot day knows, that stuff stores a lethal amount of heat.

Via Tree Hugger

Published on February 02, 2016 by Lauren Vadnjal


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