The first kilometre of Wattway solar road set in Normandy, France, was recently inaugurated by French Minister of Environment, Ségolène Royal. Made of 2,880 photovoltaic panels, this stretch of road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity per year.
The Wattway trial site installed on the RD5, between Tourouvre south exit and the crossing with the N12, in le Gueé-à-Pont locality, was unveiled on the 22nd of December in the presence of local and government leaders.
The project is part of the energy transition law and is being developed by Colas, a road construction company, in partnership with the French National Solar Energy Institute.
The one-kilometre road path is covered in 2,880 panels made of silicon cells that transform solar energy into electricity. According to the company, these panels are coated in a multilayer substrate composed of resins and polymers, which makes them translucent to allow sunlight to pass through, and resistant enough to withstand truck traffic.
The electricity produced by this solar road will be sent to the Enedis network, the biggest electricity supplier in France. The expected annual production is 280 MWh and daily production will fluctuate according to weather and seasons. On average, the estimated electrical output will reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in the summer.
An information panel installed near the solar road will indicate the immediate production as well as the total production since the installation. This panel will be powered by electricity generated via Wattway panels.
Wattway Director, Jean-Charles Broizat, regards this project as an important step in Wattway solar road development. “We are still on an experimental phase. Building a trial site of this scale is a real opportunity for our innovation. This trial site has enabled us to improve our photovoltaic panels installing process as well as their manufacturing, in order to keep on optimizing our innovation.”