Following France's leadership from COP21, it is 'paving' the way in road innovation. The country is planning to provide power to millions of homes with the implementation of a technology called Wattway. The polycrystalline panels that will make up an innovative new road surface will transform solar energy into electricity, ostensibly turning existing infrastructure into an excellent opportunity for clean energy integration. The impact is minimal, as the panels themselves measure just 7mm thick and can be laid atop existing roadways. The French government plans to increase tax rates on fuel to help fund the installation on over 1000km of roadway, which when complete, could potentially power 5 million homes. It is durable thanks to some innovative design accomplishments, and can withstand any traffic it may encounter. With the solar bike path in the Netherlands having been in place for well over a year and performing excellently, the possibilities for the roadway design becoming a global solution are exciting, and the potential for green energy production is astronomical. Check out some great photos of the roadway construction here.
Let's hope the Liberal Government's infrastructure program will accelerate the adoption of leading edge sustainable infrastructure by local governments across Canada. Our future and our future prosperity depends on it.