The project is called “Positive Energy,” and it has drawn positive recommendations from a wide section of people while others say it is impractical and useless – installing solar panels on 621 miles of roads to generate power to 5 million people in France.
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The ambitious plan to install solar strips on roads in France is estimated to take 5 years to complete, and this was reported by Alexandru Micu of ZME Science as feasible, beneficial, and very possible by the team behind the project.
France would not be the first country to attempt paving its roads with solar panels to generate electricity, the Netherlands also did it with photovoltaic solar strips and it proved a success. The solar strips to be used in this French case are Wattway panels developed by French civil engineering firm Colas in collaboration with the French National Solar Energy Institute.
The journal of the American Composites Manufacturers Association, Composites Manufacturing, revealed that “The photovoltaic cells are coated in a multilayer substrate composed of various resins and polymers. The substrate is translucent enough to allow sunlight to pass through, but also resistant enough to withstand truck traffic."
Micu disclosed that the strengths of the solar panels have been tested under all conditions and proven able to withstand the weight of traffic while also adapting to thermal expansion in road surfaces. "Colas tested them under the weight of a 6-axle truck and they worked just fine," he said.
Colas CEO Hervé Le Bouc, noted that the solar strips have been rigorously tested on a cycle of 1 million vehicles or 20 years of standard traffic, and the panels held up superbly.
A commenter in the journal Global Construction Review said the idea would equally be great for charging hybrid or electric cars, since energy generated by the solar panels could be tapped at certain points to power up electric vehicles.
"Or at the very least, plug in points at frequent positions along the solar paneled roads at which to stop and re-charge the batteries of hybrid cars," the individual said.