At long last, the world’s first solar panel road has finally opened—not on Route 66 but in France.
Announced earlier this year as part of an ambitious plan to pave 1,000 kilometers, or about 620 miles, of road with solar panels, the project officially kicked off with a length of one kilometer in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy.
Covered in 2,800 square meters of photovoltaic panels, the road, called Wattway, cost about €5 million ($5.2 million) to construct and will be used by approximately 2,000 motorists per day during a two-year trial period. Wattway is hoped to be able to generate enough energy to power all of the street lights in the town of 3,400 residents.
France’s ecology minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated the road on December 22, and the panels were created by Colas after a five-year development period. The pavers were first tested at four parking lots across the country. If successful, Wattway and other solar panel roads could pave (pun intended) the roadway of the future. For the full story, head to The Guardian.