This is the story of an experiment that failed. But they tried, and the next attempt will work better.
Photos show the world’s first solar road that’s turned out to be a colossal failure because it’s falling apart and doesn’t generate enough energy
- In July, a French daily newspaper published a story saying the longest solar road in the world had failed. It’s neither economically viable or energy efficient.
- Less than three years since the road opened, it’s become cracked and damaged. Parts of the road have been demolished because they weren’t salvageable.
- Energy targets were never hit, because engineers didn’t plan for rotting leaves to block sunlight. These photos show how
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France appears to have been on the solar road to nowhere.
In July, the French daily newspaper Le Monde reported that the 0.6-mile solar road was a fiasco.
In December 2016, when the trial road was unveiled, the French Ministry of the Environment called it “unprecedented.” French officials said the road, made of photovoltaic panels, would generate electricity to power streetlights in Tourouvre, a local town.
But less than three years later, a report published by Global Construction Review says France’s road dream may be over. Cracks have appeared, and in 2018, part of the road had to be demolished due to damage from wear and tear.
Even at its peak, the road was only producing half of the expected energy, because engineers didn’t take into consideration rotting leaves falling on the road.
Here what the road looked like in all of its former glory, and how it got to this point.
It was all smiles and high hopes in 2016, when the world’s first solar panel road, called Wattway, opened. France spent $5.2 million on 0.6 miles of road, and 30,000 square feet of solar panels. It was hailed as the longest solar road in the world.
Source: The Verge
Media gathered around to take a walk down what was thought to be the road of the future. The French minister for energy said she wanted to have solar panels on one mile of road every 621 miles in the country within the next five years.
Despite grey skies on the day of the inauguration, France was leading the world for solar transportation.
But the brake was never removed, and the wheels never started rolling — so to speak.
In May 2018, 300 feet of the road had to be demolished since it wasn’t salvageable.
And now the trial looks like it’s all over. Wattway’s managing director Etienne Gaudin told Le Monde that it would not be going to market. “Our system is not mature on long distance traffic,” he said. The company would focus on creating electricity for smaller things, like CCTV cameras and lighting bus shelters.
Source: Global Construction Review