Road paved with solar panels powers French town

December 22, 2016 by Chloé Coupeau
Segolene Royal and other officials walk on a solar panel road at its inauguration in Tourouvre, on December 22, 2016

France on Thursday inaugurated the world's first "solar highway", a road paved with solar panels providing enough energy to power the street lights of the small Normandy town of Tourouvre.

The one-kilometre (half-mile) "Wattway" covered with 2,800 square metres (30,000 square feet) of resin-coated solar panels was hooked up to the local power grid as Environment Minister Segolene Royal looked on.

"This new use of solar energy takes advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure already in use... to produce electricity without taking up new real estate," Royal said in a statement.

The minister announced a four-year "plan for the national deployment of solar highways" with initial projects in western Brittany and southern Marseille.

An average of 2,000 cars use the road in Tourouvre each day, testing the resistance of the panels for the project carried out by French civil engineering firm Colas, a subsidiary of construction giant Bouygues.

The idea, which is also under exploration in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, is that roadways are occupied by cars only around 20 percent of the time, providing vast expanses of surface to soak up the sun's rays.

Colas says that in theory France could become energy independent by paving only a quarter of its million kilometres of roads with solar panels.

Building firm Colas says that in theory France could become energy independent by paving only a quarter of its million kilometres of roads

Sceptics are waiting to see whether the panels can withstand the ravages of time and weather, as well as the beating they will take from big trucks.

Solar panels installed on a 70-metre stretch of a cycling lane north of Amsterdam experienced some damage last winter but the problem has been resolved, the project's company TNO said.

The Wattway project, which has received a state subsidy of five million euros (dollars), began with four pilot sites around France, in parking lots or in front of public buildings, on much smaller surfaces of between 50 and 100 square metres each.

One drawback of the system is that are more effective when angled towards the sun, typically on slanted rooftops, than when they are laid flat.

A woman works on a solar panel at the SNA factory in Tourouvre

And the cost question is far from being resolved. Each kilowatt-peak—the unit of measure for solar energy—generated by Wattway currently costs 17 euros, compared with 1.30 euros for a major rooftop installation.

But Colas hopes to make the cost competitive by 2020, noting that the cost of producing decreased by 60 percent between 2009 and 2015 according to a French renewable energy association, SER.

Explore further: France has solar-strip paving ambitions for long stretch of roads

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gculpex
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 22, 2016
I guess thunderf00t will have to eat 'crow' now since he debunked Solar Highways as a scam.
antigoracle
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 22, 2016
And the cost question is far from being resolved. Each kilowatt-peak—the unit of measure for solar energy—generated by Wattway currently costs 17 euros, compared with 1.30 euros for a major rooftop installation.

Oh the absurdity. I hoped that it would have ended with using food crops for biofuels, but leave it to the AGW Cult to take stupidity beyond belief.
Pooua
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 22, 2016
Solar Roadways is a scam, and this project in France illustrates how bad SR is. Whereas SR creates 50-lb panels that have to be bolted together to form roads, and contain LEDs and heaters and conduits, this French project is just solar panels embedded in a thin, protective material that then is applied to existing roads. SR has never produced a working product, despite receiving millions of dollars. This project at least functions, even though it's still way too expensive. Durability and usability remain to be seen. We have less expensive, less dangerous, more practical, better ways of generating solar power than paving our roads with solar cells.
MR166
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 22, 2016
This reminds me of an old saying. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
unrealone1
3 / 5 (6) Dec 22, 2016
And the cost question is far from being resolved. Each kilowatt-peak—the unit of measure for solar energy—generated by Wattway currently costs 17 EUROS, compared with 1.30 EUROS for a major rooftop installation.
And power from a Natural Gas power station costs?

The problem with socialism you eventually run out of other people's money..

Correct me if i'm wrong is this like a solar power torch, it will only work during the day? not at night?
aksdad
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 22, 2016
So many nay-sayers! It's cool technology, but seriously impractical.

Even if solar costs decline by another 60% by 2020, the electricity it generates is still 13 times more expensive than from a rooftop solar installation. And how durable is the road surface? Replacing the photovoltaics every 10 years (or sooner) as the road wears is expensive. And where do you get electricity from when the sun isn't shining, which is most of the time (80%)?
aksdad
4 / 5 (8) Dec 22, 2016
By the way, betcha didn't know that France is already "electricity independent" thanks to a long-standing policy of energy security and reliance on nuclear power. They already generate more electricity than they use. France is the world's largest net exporter of electricity, so installing a bunch of PV panels in roads to generate even more electricity won't do anything to make them "energy independent".

http://www.world-...nce.aspx
gculpex
3.5 / 5 (6) Dec 22, 2016
And the cost question is far from being resolved. Each kilowatt-peak—the unit of measure for solar energy—generated by Wattway currently costs 17 EUROS, compared with 1.30 EUROS for a major rooftop installation.
And power from a Natural Gas power station costs?

The problem with socialism you eventually run out of other people's money..

Correct me if i'm wrong is this like a solar power torch, it will only work during the day? not at night?

Funny I thought you would just print more money and increase taxes.

The real point is, They are doing it right NOW, day or night, farther north than the U.S.

Instead of being so negative, try being positive............
Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2016
I guess thunderf00t will have to eat 'crow' now since he debunked Solar Highways as a scam
@gculpex
doubtful - this isnt the same stuff, for starters

it said these were resin coated, not the same glass topped modular system he debunked

also - this is a feasibility test, and i see it being able to (hopefully) power the local streetlights but there is a lot of other things that may cause issues, from snow and ice to damage or dirt

hell, the urea alone used to de-ice the roads will cause some problems, plus there is a potential problem with snow plows

but the biggest problem will be the heavier commercial traffic ...

also note, this is hooked into the local grid
to make this work locally (without the existing power company working) you will still need to alter the infrastructure and install a sh*tload of batteries to run stuff at night
antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 23, 2016
One drawback of the system is that solar panels are more effective when angled towards the sun, typically on slanted rooftops, than when they are laid flat.

Well, yes and no. There's a study out there that angling a (non-rotating) solar panel for maximum electricity generation per day is not optimal - as at that time of day there is an overabundance of solar power and a supply-demand mismatch. Taking this into account laying them down flat is better.

So many nay-sayers! It's cool technology, but seriously impractical.

Let's wait and see how the panels hold up (I suspect abrasion and dirt/soot will be a problem. But the latter should lessen with a move to EVs. In the end we'll see a cost-benefit analysis and decide wether it's sensible). While cost is high I suspect that will come down, eventually.

A big bonus is, of course, that you don't have to fight for permits or go through lengthy lawsuits against green initiatives to get the 'land' to use.
dirk_bruere
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 23, 2016
You need to subtract the cost of the actual road it is replacing, and land cost
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2016
A big bonus is, of course, that you don't have to fight for permits or go through lengthy lawsuits against green initiatives to get the 'land' to use
-But of course you have to go through an even lengthier process for approval of a non-standard and untested paving material on public roads plus lengthy lawsuits for accidents caused by traction, damage, and visual issues.

And you have to do this for every jurisdiction before you get UL and other agency certification :-P
antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (11) Dec 23, 2016
But of course you have to go through an even lengthier process for approval of a non-standard and untested paving material on public roads

You don't really understand the difference of having to go through that only once (after which it might become the de-facto road material) vs. having to go through the process every time you want to set upo solat panels on regular land, do you?

plus lengthy lawsuits for accidents caused by traction, damage, and visual issues.

Gee whiz, Einstein. Why do you think they are buidling a *test* road? Notice the word "test"? Look it up some time. Education is a wonderful thing.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2016
You don't really understand the difference of having to go through that only once (after which it might become the de-facto road material) vs. having to go through the process every time you want to set upo solat panels on regular land, do you?
You don't really understand the intricacies of code and ordinance review processes for local, state, and federal highway systems do you? As well as liability coverage which is different from state to state? Paving changes can actually kill people unlike PV on grass which can only kill skinks and muskratS which is why transportation systems are more heavily regulated :P
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2016
Perhaps you might like to do a little reading yourself?
https://www.astm....3666.htm
https://www.fhwa....4038.cfm

-Which has more power - the FTA and all the various DOTs and the insurance underwriters, or the EPA?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.1 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2016
God I love being right :-P
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2016
Just one more tidbit
The Department of Transportation was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2014 of $77.2 billion (federal only)

EPA
FY 2015 $8,139,887,000

-big difference eh?
gculpex
4 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2016
I guess thunderf00t will have to eat 'crow' now since he debunked Solar Highways as a scam
@gculpex
doubtful - this isnt the same stuff, for starters

also note, this is hooked into the local grid
to make this work locally (without the existing power company working) you will still need to alter the infrastructure and install a sh*tload of batteries to run stuff at night

True it's not the same but the idea is.
The bicycle lanes have been in use for more than a year, so previous testing must have been good and now are trying it on a larger scale.
There are other ways to store energy other than batteries (water dams, gases, gas pressure...).
gkam
1.6 / 5 (10) Dec 23, 2016
These are not made for main transportation, they are TESTS, developmental tests. If one could have melted down and contaminated the nation with deadly radioactive pollutants I could see your worry, but these are clean and safe.
MR166
4 / 5 (5) Dec 23, 2016
"The bicycle lanes have been in use for more than a year, so previous testing must have been good and now are trying it on a larger scale."

So you are comparing a bicycle lane with an actual roadway that supports heavy trucks and that also needs to be plowed eh.

Also, as was mentioned in previous posts, the coefficient of friction under ALL weather conditions of a roadway is of paramount importance !!!!!!!!!!
antigoracle
2 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2016
The astonishing stupidity from the AGW Cult does not stop here. They intend to propagate this farce across the globe. Seriously, is there no limit to the AGW Cult's ignorance?
gkam
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 23, 2016
My god, anti, why are you so hateful and adolescent?

Please grow up, and stop.

You are just screaming nasty words across the playground. Go back to Twitter.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2016
True it's not the same but the idea is
@gculpex
well, for starters, the idea wasn't what he debunked...
but as for the roadways, there is a lot more than just power storage to consider, as MR166 noted

solar panels do not function well when dirty, covered with something (like snow), or when damaged all to h*ll (like from snow plows or heavy truck use)... also, there is a huge difference between the light use of a bicycle path and a road that has commercial traffic on it... even if said bike path was in Beijing

now, it sounds like a good idea until you consider the alterations to the infrastructure (as noted by Dr. Mason) as well as some other issues... it would make far, far, far more sense to build them *along* the roadways in the state right of way than to build the road itself out of them, IMHO
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (6) Dec 23, 2016
solar panels do not function well when dirty, covered with something (like snow)

To be fair: solar panels on roofs or in fields don't work well when covered in snow, either. Now, snow, in particular, has become less and less of an issue in recent years in France (climate change and all that), so I feel that particular argument isn't particularly strong.
(quite the opposite: if there are any surfaces that are faster free of snow than others then it's roads, because cars driving on roads heats them up).

Impact of dirt will have to be studied. Gut feeling tells me that this is also not going to be as much of an issue as one would think. Roads in cities are cleaned regularly as is Higher diffraction due to abrasion may be the result. But that's up to the material used and I can't find any indication either way. If this means resurfacing of the top, protective, layer every few years (akin to road renewal intervals) then that's not an *additional* issue .
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (6) Dec 23, 2016
it would make far, far, far more sense to build them *along* the roadways

This is being done for highways, already.
Wherever I drive I see stuff like this quite frequently:
http://www.solars...422.html

But in urban settings there is no space along roads (at least not in Europe).
gculpex
3 / 5 (2) Dec 23, 2016
True it's not the same but the idea is
@gculpex
well, for starters, the idea wasn't what he debunked...
but as for the roadways, there is a lot more than just power storage to consider, as MR166 noted

solar panels do not function well when dirty, covered with something (like snow), or when damaged all to h*ll (like from snow plows or heavy truck use).

You could fit the plows with a silicon edged blade or just let the panels melt the snow....
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 24, 2016
If this means resurfacing of the top, protective, layer every few years... You could fit the plows with a silicon edged blade or just let the panels melt the snow....
-or you could let engrs and product developers do what they do best
https://youtu.be/ewQS_YKGYac

WillieWard
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2016
but these are clean and safe.
Road paved with carcinogenics: gallium arsenide, hexavalent chromium, selenium, brominated diphenylethers, polybrominated biphenyls. I bet these panels are not manufactured in unicorn-powered factories. And when sun is not shinning, fossil fuels Baby; all that with taxpayers' hard-earned money.
namma
3.6 / 5 (5) Dec 24, 2016
Why are these alleged "science" minded people against someone TRYING to do something?

NOTHING gets done if it's never started.

Or is it you don't have YOUR ducks in a row to invest should it prove to be viable?

Sickening if wealth hoarding is the only reason for the spite.

You folks are the reason things don't get done. The sciences should be working together and not jealously hiding data from each other. Science should not be restricted by corporate greed, even if they fund it.

There really ought to be a regulation preventing corporations from calling the shots in research of any kind. I don't CARE about the money of freaking elitists going on and on about it like a little child. They disgust me. They have 99% of the wealth and it's still not enough.

And the rest of you take off the blinders and undo the brainwashing of whatever cult socially engineered you to be so bloody awful.
WillieWard
2 / 5 (4) Dec 24, 2016
According to a self-entitled engineer, George K., solar would be cheap, almost for free.
"World's first solar road opens in France: It's ridiculously expensive"
"Kilometer-long road cost $5.2 million to build."
http://arstechnic...-france/
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (8) Dec 24, 2016
Science should not be restricted by corporate greed, even if they fund it

Companies don't fund science out of the goodness of their hearts. If they can't get anything out of it (read: proprietary knowledge that they can use to make a patented product) then they wouldn't fund research at all.

There really ought to be a regulation preventing corporations from calling the shots in research

Nations have scaled back investment in science ("waste of taxpayer money...gotta save up for some more nukes"). So the way to save money they came up with was to only give grant money if a certain percentage of a research project was funded by a company. 'Clever', eh? The results? Well, you've described them accurately.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 25, 2016
Nations have scaled back investment in science ("waste of taxpayer money...gotta save up for some more nukes")
ACTUALLY, if you bother to do a little research (30 sec) you see that in the US at least, non-military has stayed about the same while military has dropped considerably.
http://www.aaas.o...n%3B.jpg

-By any measure. Take your time. Peruse the entire AAAS site.

I think we've discovered yet another source of fake (bullshit) news. Just pretend you know and make it up. Why not? Feels good yes?
gculpex
1 / 5 (1) Dec 25, 2016
If this means resurfacing of the top, protective, layer every few years... You could fit the plows with a silicon edged blade or just let the panels melt the snow....
-or you could let engrs and product developers do what they do best
https://youtu.be/ewQS_YKGYac


video was not about the roads. robots would get in the way...
And there are many engineers and developers who do not contribute anything to improving life.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 25, 2016
happy holidays all
You could fit the plows with a silicon edged blade or just let the panels melt the snow....
@gculpex
true, but a silicon blade is a mite too flexible to wipe away ice or hard packed snow without damaging the blade and requiring constant replacement

this solution should be more about cost effectiveness and efficiency as well as adaptation of an effective technology more-so than anything else

- proof of concept must make money or show how it can be profitable or companies will not be encouraged

.

Why are these alleged "science" minded people against someone TRYING to do something?
@namma
if you're referring to me, i am not against it. i am simply stating it's far more likely to succeed along a road rather than *as* the road

.

just because you know a wing helps something fly doesn't mean it's feasible to slap them on a pig and launch them off a cliff to deliver bacon around the county
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 25, 2016
if there are any surfaces that are faster free of snow than others then it's roads, because cars driving on roads heats them up
@AA_P
that really depends on the amount of traffic... it could also just pack it harder and create a worsening situation, like a lot of rural places in the US - my county is a great example: the main highways stay relatively clear, but most roads become hard packed snow and ice mixed
So the cost of clearing will increase in rural settings
Impact of dirt will have to be studied. Gut feeling tells me that this is also not going to be as much of an issue as one would think
i think it will be a mite more important than most think... once dirt scratches and causes damage it will affect the ability to charge etc... at least, that is true with other panels
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Dec 25, 2016
video was not about the roads. robots would get in the way...
In the way of what? Robot cars? Snow removal will soon be AI like everything else.
http://www.superd...ow/1612/

BTW I had several links which disappeared on edit. Do a search.
And there are many engineers and developers who do not contribute anything to improving life
And there are many more pretenders and posturers who reduce the quality of physorg threads.
gculpex
3 / 5 (2) Dec 25, 2016
video was not about the roads. robots would get in the way...
In the way of what? Robot cars? Snow removal will soon be AI like everything else.
http://www.superd...ow/1612/

BTW I had several links which disappeared on edit. Do a search.
And there are many engineers and developers who do not contribute anything to improving life
And there are many more pretenders and posturers who reduce the quality of physorg threads.

Nice try, but you should already know that solar cells heat up from the poor conversion thereby melting the snow.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 26, 2016
video was not about the roads. robots would get in the way...
In the way of what? Robot cars? Snow removal will soon be AI like everything else.
http://www.superd...ow/1612/

BTW I had several links which disappeared on edit. Do a search.
And there are many engineers and developers who do not contribute anything to improving life
And there are many more pretenders and posturers who reduce the quality of physorg threads.

Nice try, but you should already know that solar cells heat up from the poor conversion thereby melting the snow.
And an engr would tell you, not as fast as black asphalt heats up.
gculpex
Dec 26, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gculpex
not rated yet Dec 26, 2016
And an engr would tell you, not as fast as black asphalt heats up.

Ha Ha Ha!
LOL!!!!!!!!!
ALL too FUNNY!
Do you know the difference between an engineer and a scientist.........LOL!!!!!
gculpex
Dec 26, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Da Schneib
not rated yet Dec 27, 2016
My question is what happens when they have to get at the pipes and traffic sensors under the roadway.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 27, 2016
My question is what happens when they have to get at the pipes and traffic sensors under the roadway.

Where do you get that any of that would be below the road?
Da Schneib
not rated yet Dec 27, 2016
My question is what happens when they have to get at the pipes and traffic sensors under the roadway.

Where do you get that any of that would be below the road?
It's already there.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2016
My question is what happens when they have to get at the pipes and traffic sensors under the roadway.

Where do you get that any of that would be below the road?
It's already there.
My question is what makes you think that the engrs didn't consider this and didn't design the system with it in mind?
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2016
It's already there.

I've been looking around for a source on this and haven't found any. Could you provide a link?. It's not usual to place anything below roads. Pipes and electrical conduits are usually placed below sidewalks or - outside urban areas - to the side of roads, so that any maintenace does not interrupt traffic too much..
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2016
I've been looking around for a source on this and haven't found any. Could you provide a link?. It's not usual to place anything below roads
Ever drive down a road with manhole covers? Ever wonder how utilities get from one side of the road to the other?
http://www.omaha....493.html

-Sorry I dont believe you looked.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 28, 2016
Ever drive down a road with manhole covers?

You know, I actually have never seen a manhole cover on such roads as the one they are paving here:
https://www.indus...-france/

I dunno how they build roads in the states, but in Europe the roads outside urban areas don't really cotain that stuff (and even those inside urban areas have the manhole covers at the side of the road that lead down to sewers which run by the sides below the sidewalks)

And if you really need a place where there is something crossing the road then throw in 2 meters of regular asphaplt at the place. That's not going to impact solar power harvests much.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2016
Guess you missed this one.
https://www.youtu...jNnWHBFQ

Oop heres another one.
http://c8.alamy.c...MW1C.jpg

Heres some nasty ones
http://www.wirtge...avement/

Also

"Sewer manholes in roads have a lot to put up with. They are exposed not only to vertical, but also to horizontal loads. For this reason, newer types of manhole cover are secured against lateral displacement. However, older types of manhole, with no such security, are still predominantly found in roads. For these, there is now an adapter ring available that is claimed to prevent displacement. IKT has tested this"

-And here is the german firm that designs them, with nice pics.
http://www.ikt-on...tenance/

-Drive carefully now.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 28, 2016
...aaand all the things ypu linked to were for urban settings. Well done not reading my post.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2016
...aaand all the things ypu linked to were for urban settings. Well done not reading my post.
No they werent. They were in the same suburban settings as the installation in the article.

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