France has announced plans to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels.
French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said last month she expects tests to begin in the spring, according to Global Construction Review.
The panels were constructed in five years by Colas, a subsidiary of French industrial giant Bouygues.
The 7-millimeter-thick Wattway solar panels contain photovoltaic cells, which collect solar energy through a thin layer of polycrystalline silicon.
The panels will be glued to existing road surfaces and can withstand the passage of heavy goods vehicles, according to the manufacturers.
Road surfaces are occupied by vehicles only around 10 percent of the time, so the panels will get plenty of exposure to the sun, according to the Wattway by Colas official website.
Some 4 meters of solarised road can power one household, and 1 kilometers can produce enough electricity for a town of 5,000 people, according to Colas.
20 m² of Wattway panels can supply the electricity requirements of a single home.
If it reaches its maximum potential, the plan could provide electricity for 5 million people, or about 8 percent of France’s population, Royal said, according to Global Construction Review.
The cost of the project is unknown, but the French government has suggested it could pay for it by raising taxes on petrol, Global Construction Review reported.
By the year 2050, global energy needs are expected to double.
Last year, the world’s first road to convert sunlight into electricity opened on a 100-meter stretch of carriageway in the Netherlands.