PV power hits the road in Normandy village.

France has opened what it claims to be the world's first solar panel road, in a Normandy village. The French Minister for the Environment, Energy and Sea, Ségolène Royal, has officially launched a kilometer long solar road in December. 

It took five years to develop and cost $5.2 million to produce and install the 30,000 square feet of solar panels. Nearly 3,000 Wattway panels running through a small village in north-west France are expected to produce an average of 767 kWh of electricity per day, peaking in summer months to as much as 1,500 kWh.

For Wattway Director, Jean-Charles Broizat, this project is an important step in Wattway solar road development: "We are still on an experimental phase. Building a trial site of this scale is a real opportunity for our innovation. This trial site has enabled us to improve our photovoltaic panels installing process as well as their manufacturing, in order to keep on optimizing our innovation."

It looks that citizens of Tourouvre-au-Perche no longer has to worry about how it will power its street lights.

Wattway is a patented French innovation that is the fruit of 5 years of research undertaken by Colas, world leader in transport infrastructure, and the INES (French National Institute for Solar Energy). By combining road construction and photovoltaic techniques, Wattway pavement provides clean, renewable energy in the form of electricity, while allowing for all types of traffic.

Jan. 1, 2017 Driving photo: Wattway

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