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Wattway starts 4 SolarRoad Pilots

Wattway starts 4 SolarRoad Pilots

100 outdoor test sites in early 2018

Wattway, part of the France Colas constructions company, announced that four SolarRoad pilots will be built around the world in 2017.

Bloomberg December 4th:

(…) Colas SA, a French engineering firm, has designed rugged solar panels, capable of withstanding the weight of an 18-wheeler truck, that they’re now building into road surfaces. After nearly five years of research and laboratory tests, they’re constructing 100 outdoor test sites and plan to commercialize the technology in early 2018. (…/)

Philippe Harelle, the chief technology officer at Colas SA’s Wattway unit: “We wanted to find a second life for a road. Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.”

Wattway joins groups including Sweden’s Scania and Solar Roadways in the U.S. seeking to integrate panels onto pavement.

To resist the weight of traffic, Wattway layers several types of plastics to create a clear and durable casing. The solar panel underneath is similar to panels on rooftops. The electrical wiring is embedded in the road and the contraption is topped by an anti-slip surface made from crushed glass.

1. Normandy project lightens the city

A kilometer-sized testing site began construction last month in the French village of Tourouvre in Normandy. The 2,800 square meters of solar panels are expected to generate 280 kilowatts at peak, with the installation generating enough to power all the public lighting in a town of 5,000 for a year, according to the company.

The electricity generated by this stretch of solar road will feed directly into the grid.

2. Georgia USA

In December 20th, 2016, the first US Wattway solar road was installed in Georgia

3. Calgary Canada

In 2017, a roadway in the beautiful ski resort in Calgary in Canada will be covered with solar cells to generate green energy for the village.

Wattway also plans to build them in Africa, Japan and throughout the European Union.

As solar costs plummet, panels are being increasingly integrated into everyday materials. Last month Tesla surprised investors by unveiling roof shingles that double as solar panels. Other companies are integrating photovoltaics into building facades, windows in buildings and rooftops of cars. All possible by the falling cost of PV.

4. Smart Charging

Another test site is being used to charge electric vehicles. A third will power a small hydrogen production plant. Wattway has also installed its panels to light electronic billboards and is working on links to street lights.

Costs will decrease

At this moment, the cost of the materials are high. A square meter of the solar road currently costs 2,000 ($2,126) and 2,500 euros. This includes monitoring, data collection and installation costs. Wattway thinks it can make the price competitive with traditional solar farms by 2020.

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