In an attempt to promote the development of green energy, earlier in February the French government announced plans to create 1,000 Km (621 miles) of road with solar panels within five years. Now, the first kilometer is complete. The road, located in a Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche, is estimated to be used by about 2,000 vehicles and power the village’s lights.
The criticism, as it is to be expected when it comes to innovative projects, is about money. The limited amount of energy produced by the solar road doesn’t seem to be worth the 5 million dollars invested into it. Jean-Louis Bal, the president of the French renewable energy union SER, told the Guardian, “We have to look at the cost, the production of electricity and its lifespan… For now I don’t have the answers.”
Ségolène Royal, the French Minister for Environment, claims that the costs will go down as the technology evolves and becomes more popular. “It takes advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure already in use…to produce electricity without taking up new real estate.” Royal said, pointing out the cons of the project.
For now, the French government is going ahead with the project.