World is constantly progressing towards a greener world through technological developments. France has taken the first step in this direction by opening the very first Solar Road in Normandy on Dec 23 i.e Thursday. The 1-km long road was inaugurated by Ségolène Royal, French Ecology Minister. The project was funded by the Ministry of the Environment with contracting authority provided by Department of Orne, which owns the RD5. The solar road is an initial step to assess the behavior of the technology, before expansion on a large scale. The target being installation of solar panels on one in every 1,000 km of French highways.
The approximate electrical output for the road is 280,000 kWh per year with an average of 800 kWh per day. The solar panels have been designed by RD5 Wattway and cover the area between the south exit of Tourouvre and the crossing of the National 12, at a place called Le Gué-to-Pont. These 2800 meter square photovoltaic panels constitute of 15 cm square tiles made of thin polycrystalline silicon sheet. These sheet turn the solar energy into electric energy, hence lighting up the 1 km road. Further, the road has been equipped with solar installations including a bus shelter which is designed and built by SNA company alongside a fast electric charging station.
The road took 5 years to complete with an estimated expenditure of about $5.2 million. About 2,000 cars drive on the Tourouvre each day and the road’s resistance was analysed by French civil engineering firm Colas which is a subsidiary of construction giant Bouygues. The news was announced by Ségolène Royal via her official Twitter account. An official press release for the same stated,
This first solar road at the global level makes it possible to imagine, in the near future, a new functionality of the French road network in the service of the energy transition for green growth.