Big Flop! France was very excited about it’s first solar roadway


The Wattway is a 1-kilometer (0.62-mile) stretch of road covered in 2,800 photovoltaic panels in the Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in the north part of the country. It cost $5 million and never had a chance to succeed.

It’s disintegrating and can’t handle the traffic, not even a tractor. And the panels can’t possibly generate the electricity needed. Bad weather, leaves and passing vehicles block the sun’s rays. All of this was knowable before they even began the project.

According to Global Construction Review, “the 2,800 square meters of solar panels have degraded, peeled away and splintered, and 100m of them have been removed after being declared too damaged to repair,” The Verge reports.

The report claims that engineers didn’t account for the natural deterioration caused by thunderstorms, leaf mold, and heavy trucks and tractors that would be regularly using the road. At its peak, the road only generated 149,459 kWh in a year, making them far less efficient than regular tilted solar panels.

As if that isn’t enough, the road makes a racket and villagers are complaining.

All of this information was knowable but they will carry on and continue with projects elsewhere.

Dylan Ryan, a lecturer in mechanical and energy engineering at Napier University in Edinburgh, said last year that solar roads are “likely to only be a niche source of power in the future,” adding that even with technological improvements, “it’s likely the performance gap between solar roads and conventional solar will remain.”


In Idaho, we had the Solar Freakin Roadways Project. It’s an unbelievable story.

After an expenditure of $4.3 million and six-and-a-half years, the Sandpoint Solar Roadways project in Idaho is complete and it is capable of running one microwave.

The Daily Caller reported: that it can’t even power a microwave most days. The project aka Solar Freakin’ Roadways generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. An average microwave consumes about 1 kWh per day.

On March 29th, the solar road panels generated 0.26 kWh, or less electricity than a single plasma television consumes. On March 31st, the panels generated 1.06 kWh, enough to barely power a single microwave. The panels have been under-performing their expectations due to design flaws, but even if they had worked perfectly they’d have only powered a single water fountain and the lights in a nearby restroom. Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has been in development for 6.5 years and received a total of $4.3 million in funding to generate 90 cents worth of electricity.

Sandpoint’s Solar Roadway ended up only being 30 squares in the town square that can be walked or biked on for its $4.3 million.

Ars Technica reports about a plan for a solar roadway in Missouri:

The first public installation of Solar Roadways is finally being constructed at a Route 66 welcome centre in Missouri.

According to the Missouri department of transport (MoDOT), the small 12ft-by-20ft patch of solar road will cost $100,000 to install. That works out at $416 per square foot—about $4,500 per square metre, or $11.6 billion per square mile. Scott Brusaw, founder of Solar Roadways, says there’s about 29,000 square miles of paved roads in the lower 48 US states, and he’d like to turn most of them into solar roads. He’ll need one hell of a Kickstarter to raise $330 trillion—16 times the US national debt—though.

This is just utter silliness.


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