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France is lining 600 miles of road with sticky solar panels

You may or may not be familiar with the debate around “Solar Freakin’ Roadways“, but even if you’ve never heard of them, you’ll be able to understand their logic: there are loads of roads about, with surfaces that are only intermittently covered by cars. Why not use them to generate solar power? 

France, it seems, is sold on this idea. Ségolène Royal, the minister for ecology and energy, has announced that the country intends to pave 1,000km (over 600 miles) worth of road with solar panels, in order to provide energy to homes. 

According to the country’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, 4m2 of solar panelled road should be enough to supply one house with electricity. As a result, around five million homes could be supplied by the scheme. 

The scheme will also be less disruptive than it sounds: the solar panels, developed by civil engineering firm Colas, will come in thin strips which will be glued to the existing roadway surface. Here’s some engineers laying Colas strips elsewhere:

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Image: Solas. 

The strips seem a lot more straightforward than panels, or even the special interlocking solar tiles propsed by the couple behind Solar Freakin’ Roadways. Let’s hope other governments are watching. 


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