Is floor-mounted solar technology on the road to nowhere?

A new test suggests solar roads are not an efficient way to use the technology

Pathway to COP26 report

Is floor-mounted solar technology on the road to nowhere?

New test results of a solar road in France, published in The Conversation, suggest solar panels lying under a road are at a number of disadvantages.

It says the Wattway road in Tourouvre-au-Perche, France, produces less power and is more prone to being in the shade because it is at a flat angle, rather than facing the sun.

The research warns shade covering just 5% of the surface of a panel can reduce power generation by as much as half.

It says road-based solar panels also absorb less light because they require stronger, thicker glass and attract more dirt, limiting the amount of sunlight that can absorbed.

It claims the Wattway road, which has a maximum power output of 420kW, cost €5 million (£4.5m) to install, equivalent to roughly €11,905 (£10,624) per kW.

While the road is supposed to generate 800kWh a day, it actually produces closer to 409 kWh a day, giving it a capacity factor of just 4%.

ELN has contacted Wattway for a response.

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