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Solar roadway in France

How cool is this?!

Solar panel road 1

From solar-paneled highway barriers in Holland to solar plants built to float atop water reservoirs in Japan, scientists and engineers around the world have been pushing the boundaries of renewable power. Now France is the latest nation to embark on an ambitious alternative-energy experiment. Ecology and energy minister Ségolène Royal recently announced plans to create 621 miles of solar-paneled roads throughout the country. The Wattway project, as it’s being called, is gaining a lot of attention for the ease in which durable solar strips can be installed on top of existing roads. Royal plans to pay for the program by raising the tax on oil, a tariff that she predicts could bring in between $220 and $440 million. While lauded for its environmental efficiency, the program, which will take roughly five years to complete, has also raised its share of concerns. Opponents have questioned whether the technology can hold up to harsh weather and the constant wear of vehicles. Government officials say that the solar roads have been tested to protect from rain and snow and are also skid-resistant, a safety feature that made asphalt so successful.

Solar panel road 2

(Courtesy of Architectural Digest, Text by Nick Mafi)

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