The 0.6-mile stretch of solar road is said to have cost more than $5.2 million USD.
France has staked a claim as the first country to build an official roadway paved with solar panels.
Located in the village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, the 0.6-mile 'Wattway' integrates 2,880 photovoltaic panels capable of producing up to 1,500 kWh per day in the summer. The construction company behind the project, Colas, suggests annual production will average 280 MWh.
Colas suggests 20 square meters of Wattway panels provide enough electricity to supply a single home, based on 1,000 sun hours per year and an average French household that does not use grid power for heating.
The road surface is composed of a layered composite that places the PV cell below a protective surface and a textured layer that provides a grippy surface for vehicle tires. The company claims the Wattway technology can be installed atop a traditional road, rather than requiring the existing structure to be completely reworked.
The technology is still not cheap; a Guardian report suggests the single lane of solar panels cost 5 million euros (~$5.2 million USD) to build.
Colas is already working on another pilot project in Georgia, starting with the state's Visitor Information Center in West Point.