France is to install solar panels in 1,000km of roads across the country.
The country’s minister for ecology Ségolène Royal made the announcement following COP21, the recent climate change conference in Paris.
French company Wattway is behind the solar panels that will be applied to the highways, developed by combining traditional road construction techniques with photovoltaic technology. It says a 1km stretch of road can provide enough electricity to power public lighting in a town of 5,000 people.
The solar road surface comprises of cells inserted in superposed layers that ensure resistance and tyre grip. This composite material is just a few millimetres thick, able to adapt to thermal movements and vehicle loads and ensure safety.
The technology was developed by Wattway’s parent company Colas and the French National Institute for Solar Energy. Construction is likely to take place in 2016/17.