Three years ago, the French wanted to prove to the whole world that investments in renewable energy technologies make sense, opening the world’s first solar path, which not only looked beautiful, but also produced energy.
Now it turns out that this was one big misfire. The commissioning of the world’s first solar path was one of the most commented on the global network of ecology media events in 2016. An ecological road was created in the town of Tourouvre in Normandy. At full sun exposure, 2,880 panels were to produce from 790 to even 1500 kWh of electricity per day. This means that it could easily power street lighting throughout the year in a town of 5,000.
Interestingly, the road culminated in five years of hard research work at the French construction group Colas and the National French Solar Energy Institute (INES). The idea was that it did not differ in appearance from ordinary roads, and most importantly, solar panels were to be resistant not only to rain, snow, heat and frost, but also to the pressure of the wheels of large and heavy trucks. Unfortunately, reality has mercilessly verified these beautiful ecological visions and plans.
According to a report published in Le Monde, the panels were significantly damaged much faster than expected. The road was quickly covered with leaves and sand. In addition, residents have constantly complained that cars driving on it generate too much noise, which has a bad effect on the quality of their daily lives. It turns out that the road has produced a maximum of just over 300 kWh per day, which is not even enough to illuminate the route at night. But it is not everything. Just maintaining the road in fairly good condition consumes more funds than there is profit from its existence.
Colas, which is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the solar road, announced that it will soon be completely demolished, and engineers based on the experience gained will design a new, much more adapted to the reality of the French province. On the occasion of this type of projects and their failure predicted by many, it must be clearly said that this is simply pulling money from the government and citizens, and all this under the guise of ecology now fashionable.