The world’s first solar road has officially opened in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. The road is 1 kilometer long and can generate enough electricity to power the street lights. The Verge reports: That might not sound very impressive for 30,000 square feet of solar panels — and it kind of isn’t, especially for its $5.2 million price tag. The panels have been covered in a silicon-based resin that allows them to withstand the weight of passing big rigs, and if the road performs as expected, Royal wants to see solar panels installed across 1,000 kilometers of French highway. There are numerous issues, however. For one, flat solar panels are less effective than the angled panels that are installed on roofs, and they’re also massively more expensive than traditional panels. Colas, the company that installed the road, hopes to reduce the cost of the panels going forward and it has around 100 solar panel road projects in progress around the world. Earlier this year, Solar Roadways partnered with the Missouri Department of Transportation to upgrade a small stretch of the historic Route 66 roadway with solar-powered panels. They too are facing the same seemingly insurmountable cost problems as Colas and the French.
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