A French company named Colas is planning to test over 100 different sites in 2017 for their solar road technology called Wattway Solar Roads that they’ve been researching for over five years.
The company’s subsidiary has built solar panels that are capable of holding the weight of an 18-wheeler truck. Though the panel will be tested in over 100 sites, they won’t be commercialized until 2018.
To be able to hold the weight of an 18-wheeler and continuous traffic over time, the panels are layered with several layers and types of plastic that make it durable and see through. The solar panel itself is then tucked beneath the layers of plastic, much like Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles are created. Crushed glass covers the surface of the tiles so that it creates a surface that tires are able to grip to prevent sliding.
In October of 2016, a test site was created in Normandy, France that is expected to generate 280 kilowatts of electricity at it’s peak, which will come from over 2,800 square meters of solar panels. This would be enough electricity to power a town of 5,000 people for one year.
Though the cost of the projects make it sensible right now for only test sites, by 2020 Colas says the price will be able to come down to costs competitive with solar farms.
The electricity generated from the roads will be able to feed into the grid, be able to power a small hydrogen production plant, charge electric vehicles, power electric billboards and in time, will be able to power street lighting.
While these won’t be commercialized until 2018, having over 100 test sites for such a concept is an incredible step forward for clean and renewable energy as well as our world.
Adding to this momentum in 2016 has been the introduction from Tesla with their solar roofing panels, which owner Elon Musk said is likely to be the same cost or lower than a “regular” roof.
Additionally, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea have teamed up to create what is known as the Asian Super-Grid, which will consist of wind and solar technology to help power parts of those countries, as well as parts in Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia. Not only is this a major step for renewable energy, but it is a showcase example of how different countries can overcome differences to work together to create a better world.
In the UK this past summer, solar power surpassed coal generated electricity for the first time ever.
What else is happening out there in regards to clean energy? What projects have you seen or read about that excite you about the future? Share with us other projects that are happening so that we can include them in future articles.
Lance Schuttler graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Health Science and does health coaching through his website Orgonlight Health. You can follow the Orgonlight Health facebook page or visit the website for more information and other inspiring articles.