The article featured on the Autocar website last week mentioned that later this year we could see a small number of road surfaces in the UK being covered in special ‘Wattway’ panels as part of a worldwide trial. If the panels prove a success they could very well be rolled out on a nationwide scale.
Using photovoltaic technology, the ‘Wattway’ panels convert sunlight into a steady flow of electrons, enough to power road lighting, electronic messaging boards and potentially supplying surplus energy back into the national grid.
The design of the panels has been carefully considered, at just 7mm in thickness, they can be placed on any road surface and are fabricated with a specially formulated resin coating that contains glass beads that allow for normal tyre grip too.
The company behind the solar panels, construction firm Colas are eagerly looking forward to the trials if they are to go ahead later this year. If successful, Colas hope to finalise and launch a finished product by 2018.
In a statement on Autocar’s website, Carl Fergusson, Colas's executive director strategy and development, said: “Without doubt this is an extremely exciting time for the industry and we are looking for a number of forward-thinking clients who are interested in running Wattway trials with us.
"The UK trials will form part of about 100 trials taking place worldwide.” Trials are already underway in parts of France and the UK is next on the list of trial locations.
So, if all goes well, solar panel roads could be making their way to the road networks of Great Britain in just 2 years.