Today, what is considered the world's first solar highway has been inaugurated. It is located in Tourouvre-au-Perche, a small town in Normandy, France, is 1,000 kilometers away and has cost around 5 million euros of public money. This solar highway will function as a test for a period of two years, which will be estimated by some 2,000 motorists a day.
With the energy generated, the aim is to see if it is enough to power the street lighting of the town's streets, which has some 3,400 residents. According to the French Minister of Ecology, Sgolne Royal, he would like to see solar panels installed in one of every 1,000 kilometers. As noted in The Guardian, France has more than a million kilometers of road.
However, there are a number of drawbacks, the most notable being that flat panels are more expensive and less efficient than rooftop panels.
In this regard, the developer company, Colas, belonging to the large telecommunications group Bouygues, hopes to reduce the production costs of flat panels over time and notes that it has 100 other projects to install solar panels on other roads, the half of them in France and the other half elsewhere.
It also points out that its panels have a resin that contains thin sheets of silicon, which allows it to give more resistance to support even heavy vehicles. And another drawback is that Tourouvre-au-Perche has only 44 days a year in full sun.
It remains to be seen if the investment is worth it, although there are those who question its usefulness.