(Quartz) The world’s first solar panel-paved road has opened in France
WRITTEN BY Mike Murphy December 23, 2016
At this rate, just about every man-made surface there is could be covered in solar panels in the future.
Yesterday, Tourouvre-au-Perche, a small town in northern France, opened what is likely the first road paved in solar panels in the world, the Guardian reported. The road is roughly 1 km (0.6 miles) long, with one lane covered entirely in a patchwork of small solar cells that look rather like bathroom tiles, or a very dirty version of the road in theWizard of Oz.
The panels are coated in a special silicon film that helps protect them from the weight of trucks. The road will likely see around 2,000 vehicles a day, passing through the town of roughly 3,400 residents.
The road was opened by France’s environment minister and former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, who said that she would like to see the solar panel-paving installed on thousands of kilometers of French roadways. As the Guardian points out, this part of France, Normandy, isn’t exactly known for its sunny weather, receiving around 44 days of good sunshine a year on average. Royal and the French company behind the road, Wattway, are hoping to see over the next two years whether the road can generate enough electricity to power the town.