Science and Tech


France Just Opened The World's First Solar Panel Road

Called Wattway, the road is made of panels coated in a special silicon to help withstand heavy vehicles.
Posted at 10:59 AM, Dec 24, 2016

The future is here: A small village in France just opened what it claims is the first solar panel road in the world — and it wasn't cheap.

The road, called Wattway, is a little over half a mile long and cost about $5.2 million to create. 

It's expected to see around 2,000 vehicles per day. The solar panels are coated in a special silicon that protects them from the weight of trucks and other heavy vehicles.

Although Wattway is being called the first road of its kind, the technology isn't new. The Netherlands opened a solar bike path in 2014.

The road is in a two-year test period to see if it can generate enough energy to power street lights in the town it runs through.

There is one hitch, though. Solar panels work best when they're at an angle. And critics have said the roadway isn't a great use of public money. 

Still, France's ecology minister hopes solar roadways will eventually be installed throughout the country.