France’s Minister of Environment Ségolène Royal has officially opened the world’s first solar road this week with one kilometer and 2,880 solar panels in Tourouvre-au-Perche. Now the country is waiting to see if the road, built with construction company Colas‘ Wattway technology, will live up to the hype surrounding the clean energy experiment. The road is designed to produce sufficient power to electrify street lighting in the 3,400-person village.
France bet big on what they say is the first solar panel road in the world, shelling out 5 million Euros, around $5.2 million, for construction. Resin including five layers of silicon covers the solar panels to ensure their resilience against damage. Wattway said they expect the solar panel road will produce 280 megawatt hours of power annually, with daily production varying depending on weather. The company also said they anticipate 767 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each day, with electrical output even 1,500 kWh a day during the summertime.