A 0.6 mile stretch of roadway running through a small Normandy town was inaugurated on Thursday as the Wattway: the first solar road in the world.
The route – which leads through the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche – is covered with roughly 30,000 square feet of solar panels. Though the panels are reportedly less effective when laid flat, rather than tilted, the road is just the beginning in a series of solar projects spearheaded by Colas, the energy company responsible.
It will be used by an estimated 2,000 motorists a day over a two-year period to test out the Wattway’s ability in powering the village’s streetlights.
In addition to the Wattway, the Missouri Department of Transportation is currently working with Idaho energy company Solar Roadways, famously crowdfunded last year with $2.25 million, to pave parts of Interstate 70 and the iconic Route 66 with super strong interactive solar panels. The project was kicked off earlier this summer when the company installed a small amount of panels at the Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway, Missouri.
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