In France the first solar highway
The next frontier energy independence and sustainable development? Transform the streets of the world in a huge solar power plant. At least that would be the idea that in France has started to become reality with the installation, for the first stretch of a kilometer of the RD5 state, more than 2800 square meters of photovoltaic panels. It is the first time in the world that such innovation is presented and made operational: in Germany and Holland in fact similar solutions were tested only for cycling routes and there had never been forced to imagine such a solution for roads used by cars and by lorries. How does it work? The special photovoltaic panels coated with resin were glued to the ground reaching a perfect integration with the way that the thereby permits a behavior totally comparable comparable to that of the normal asphalt road. The panels then are able both to withstand the weight of the vehicles is to ensure the right grip and safety for vehicles in transit. The technology, called Wattway, is able to provide for the energy needs of a town of about 3500 inhabitants and has been met with a good dose of enthusiasm. For now the only limit to optimism of those who care about the environment would appear to result from the substantial expenses: experimentation on the first kilometer cost about 5 million euros. However the potential of the project, 1,000 km of energy would lead the road to five million people (about 8% of the French population), has convinced the government to continue to look in this direction and to seriously consider in the next few years the effectiveness of the model tested on RD5. We just have to look with confidence to the developments, hoping that the courage shown by France could become an example for other countries.