On Thursday 22nd December 2016, the first major project on the Wattway solar road was inaugurated by Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Environment, Energy and Sea in Normandy. Wattway, invented by Colas, a transport infrastructure leader, in partnership with the French National Institute of Solar Energy (Ines) is a solar panel system installed on the road's surface that captures solar energy to produce renewable energy. Launched in October 2015, Wattway is currently evaluating many applications on experimental sites around the world.
In Normandy, the Wattway trial site is made of 2,880 photovoltaic panels and is installed on the RD5, between Tourouvre south exit and the crossing with the N12, in le Gué-à-Pont locality. This project is part of the energy transition law which involves innovative and ambitious projects.
The electricity produced by this solar road stretch will be sent to the Enedis network (a French electricity provider). The expected annual production is 280 MWh. The daily production will fluctuate according to weather and seasons. On average, the estimated electrical output will reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in summer.
An information panel installed near the solar road will indicate the immediate production as well as the total production since the installation. This panel will be powered by electricity generated via Wattway panels.
For Wattway Director, Jean-Charles Broizat, this project is an important step in Wattway solar road development: "We are still on an experimental phase. Building a trial site of this scale is a real opportunity for our innovation. This trial site has enabled us to improve our photovoltaic panels installing process as well as their manufacturing, in order to keep on optimizing our innovation."
In the USA, Fifty square meters of Wattway solar panels have also been installed at the Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point, GA which will be powered by energy generated by Wattway. The average expected annual output is estimated to be 7,000 kWh.
Source and top image: Wattway