Photo: A small village in France is now home to the world’s first solar road. French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal officially inaugurated the 1 kilometer-long road covered with 2,800-square-meters of resin-encased panels in Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy.
The Guinness World Records world record for the Largest solar furnace was set by The Odeillo solar furnace In Odeillo Font-Romeux, France, an array of heliostats direct the Sun’s energy onto a 2,000m2 parabolic reflector, which then reflects the rays of the Sun to a focal point.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Largest solar-powered boat, set by Turanor PlanetSolar which measures 31 m long (35 m with flaps), with a beam of 15 m (23 m with flaps) and has a displacement of 85 tonnes. The catamaran’s upper surface is covered in 537 m2 of solar panels allowing the vessel to be powered by solar energy alone.
About 2,000 motorists will drive on the roadway during a test period of two years to see if the project can generate enough energy to power street lights for the 3,400-resident village.
The panels consists of extremely thin yet durable panels of polycrystalline silicon that can transform solar energy into electricity.
The panels are designed to withstand all types of traffic, including heavy-duty vehicles and in terms of efficiency, Wattway claims its panels have a 15 percent yield, compared to 18-19 percent for conventional photovoltaic panels.
The French government plans to eventually pave 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of its roads with solar panels.