It’s been in the news for some time now recently that France is building a Wattway. Wattway is kind of a new terminology, so what really is the Wattway?
France now has begun rolling out a 600 miles Wattway. So imagine a road network completely tiled or paved with special photovoltaic panels that can withstand pressure and friction from vehicles, that’s what a Wattway is. France is building a Wattway of 600 miles which is almost a thousand Kilometer, about same distance as from Lagos, Nigeria to Accra, Ghana!
This project is presently managed by a French road construction Company, Colas and the French Government’s National Institute for Solar Energy as part of their “Postive Energy” initiative.
According to the description of the project in their official website:
“Wattway is a photovoltaic road surfacing concept, the first of its kind in the world. Wattway panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells embedded in a multilayer substrate. These cells collect solar energy via a very thin film of polycrystalline silicon that enables the production of electricity.
On the underside of the panels, there is a connection to a lateral module containing the electrical safety components. The panels can be used on any road around the world, and are able to bear all types of vehicle traffic, including trucks. Extra thin (just a few millimeters) yet extremely sturdy, skid-resistant, designed to last, Wattway panels are installed directly on the pavement, without any additional civil engineering work. The Wattway process uses existing infrastructure so there is no need to deconstruct then rebuild.”
The applications of Wattway is limitless, we can only imagine it as it will fuel the future concept of ‘smart intelligent cities’
The Wattway is projected to provide power to 5 million people in France or about the 8% of the total population.
Colas went on to explain:
“Protected by two patents, this unparalleled cutting-edge technique is a major breakthrough, as it provides the road with a new function: producing clean, renewable energy locally, in addition to a road’s conventional use as a vector for mobility.
Wattway is able to provide power to street lights, signs, tramways, as well as housing, offices, etc. For example, 20 m² of Wattway can supply enough electricity to power a single home (not including heating). With a one kilometer long section of Wattway panels, it is possible to power the street lights for a town of 5,000 inhabitants (ADEME).
The road of the future
A road that can produce electricity is a connected road. Roads of the future will be intelligent and able to communicate thanks to widespread development in sensors making it possible to provide real-time information on traffic, to manage traffic dynamically, and to roll out automatic diagnosing programs in the pavement itself. One can also imagine electric vehicles being charged via induction technology.”
Learn more about the Solar Wattway in this short video presetation: