France has opened what it claims to be the world’s first solar panel road, in a village in Tourouvre, Normandy, northwestern France. 
A 1km (0.6-mile) route in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche covered with 2,800 sqm of electricity-generating panels, was inaugurated on Thursday December 22, 2016 by the French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal. 
It cost €5m (£4.2m) to construct and will be used by about 2,000 motorists a day during a two-year test period to establish if it can generate enough energy to power street lighting in the village of 3,400 residents. 
Before the solar-powered road – called Wattway – was opened on the RD5 road, the panels were tested at four car parks across France. The constructor was Colas, part of giant telecoms group Bouygues, and financed by the state. 
A test phase will evaluate whether the solar panel road can provide enough energy to power street lighting in the region.
Colas said the panels have been covered with a resin containing fine sheets of silicon, making them tough enough to withstand all traffic, including HGVs. The company says it hopes to reduce the costs of producing the solar panels and has about 100 other projects for solar-panelled roads – half in France and half abroad. 

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