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World’s first solar road opens in France

by Todd Haselton | December 23, 2016December 23, 2016 9:00 am PDT

solar-road-france

Remember the game F-Zero on SNES? Ever since playing that title, I’ve wondered if there was a way for us, as a society, to build roads with electricity running in them. Turns out we can and, indeed, have. France announced this week that it’s opening its first solar-powered road.

It’s not long, just 1 kilometer to start, but it has enough solar panels to help power public street lights for a small city with a population of about 5,000 people, or about 280,000 kWh per year. The road, known as RD5, features panels developed by Wattway and runs between the south exit of Tourouvre and Le Gué-to-Pont, near where National 12 crosses.

“Each tile includes square cells constituting a thing polycrystalline silicon sheet, which converts solar energy into electricity,” France’s Ministry of Environment explained. “It is treated to provide adherence equivalent to that of traditional road mixes.” The road also features a fast-charging station for electric vehicles and a solar-powered bus station.

More solar roads, please

It’s not quite a road from F-Zero (see below), but it’s still freakin’ cool, right? My hope is that this works well, and we start to see it used around the globe.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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