Solar roads in France

In May last year we posted an article about solar bike paths being installed in the Netherlands. Now a new solar paving technology called Wattway is being adopted for road surfaces in France.

Wattway is a photovoltaic road surface that has been developed jointly by a company called Colas and the French National Institute for Solar Energy. The surface is designed to be applied directly to existing road surfaces. It was launched in 2015 at the World Efficiency Congress in Paris and then demonstrated at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) where it won a Climate Solutions award.

It has recently been reported that the French Minister of ecology and energy has announced that it will use Wattway to pave 1000km of roads in France over the next five years.

The manufacturer says that 20 square metres of panels can supply electricity requirements of one home and that one kilometre of solar-paved road could power the street lighting for a town of 5000 people. As roads are only occupied by vehicles for about 10% of the time, it makes sense to use road surfaces to generate electricity instead of surrounding land that could be put to other uses.