The Dutch first put solar panels down as bike lanes, but now the French are one-upping them with solar-panel paved roads.
The French minister of ecology and energy announced last week that the country would move forward with paving over 600 miles of road ways with solar panels.
Called "the Wattway," the roads will be built in collaboration with the French road-building company Colas and the National Institute of Solar Energy. The company spent the last five years developing solar panels that are only about a quarter of an inch thick and are hardy enough to stand up to heavy highway traffic without breaking or making the roads more slippery, David Rogers reports for Global Construction Review. The panels are also designed so that they can be installed directly on top of existing roadways, making them relatively cheap and easy to install without having to tear up any infrastructure.
The minister says he expect the roadways to provide 5 million people with renewable energy in the next five years.