France unveils the world’s first (and probably last) solar panel road
By Paul Homewood
Tallbloke has this story about a solar panel road, which had me reaching for the calendar to check it was not April 1st!
Five million Euros to power a few street lights sounds expensive. What effect traffic has on the panels remains to be seen, but dirt could be an issue.
A solar panel road, claimed to be the world’s first, has opened in France, reports the Daily Mail Online:
The 0.6 miles (1km) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 solar panels, which convert energy from the sun into electricity. It is hoped that the the road could eventually provide enough energy to power the small village’s street lights.
The ‘Wattway’ road features 2,800 sq m (9,186 sq ft) of panels and was showcased today at an inauguration ceremony attended by French minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal.
The road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity a year.
While the daily production will fluctuate according to weather and seasons, it is expected to reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in summer.
Some 2,000 motorists will use the RD5 road every day during a two-year test period.
During that time, assessments will be made as to whether the road is capable of generating enough power to run the village’s street lights. Tourouvre-au-Perchef is home to around 3,400 residents.
The project is said to have cost €5m (£4.2m/$5.1) and was financed by the French government.
A solar panel road, claimed to be the world’s first, has opened in France. The 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 photovoltaic panels
There are a number of problems with this project, not least the fact that you don’t actually need street lights when the sun is shining!
And I hate to think what might happen to the panels when a car decides to pull off to the side of the road.
But let’s actually look more closely at the numbers.
If we assume a market price of £50/MWh, the output of (maybe) 280 MWh a year is worth £14000. Even ignoring maintenance and interest costs, the cost of £4.2 million would have a payback period of 300 years!
Historians will look back at this strange episode in human history, and compare some of the things we are wasting money on with Nero’s follies.