After nearly three years, first solar road fails to meet expectations

After nearly three years, first solar road fails to meet expectations
The world's first solar road, in Normandy, has not lived up to expectations. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The world's first solar road in Normandy, France, has not lived up to expectations.

The road, which opened in 2016, is covered in 2,800 square metres of solar panels, some of which were eventually damaged beyond repair. Additionally, the 1,000 kilometre road did not produce as much energy as its creator, the solar road company Wattway, claimed it would, New Mobility reported.

Several panels were worn out prematurely because of traffic, and some joints between the panels were shattered, according to New Mobility. A local villager said engineers did not account for the weight of tractors that would use the road.

Wattway claimed the road would be able to produce enough energy to power 5,000 households, but the road never reached those goals.

The road was predicted to produce 790 kWh per day, but the first year's energy production was 50% per day of what was projected, with a total of 149,459 kWh so that year. In the first six months of 2019, it produced only 37,900 kWh.

That energy was intended to be sold for 10,500 euros a year, but it only yielded 3,100 euros in 2018.

Wattway runs over 40 similar solar roads, but all are smaller in scale than the one in Normandy.

Sam Nelson

The Brussels Times

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