Jinan, the capital city of China’s Shandong province, opened on Thursday a kilometer-long stretch of the solar expressway for testing, joining France and the Netherlands that have tapped into the nascent technology.
Solar panels are laid beneath part of a ring road surrounding Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province in east China.
The road surface is made of a transparent, weight-bearing material that allows sunlight to penetrate.
The panels, covering 5,875 square meters, can generate 1 million kWh of power in a year, enough to meet the everyday demand of around 800 households, according to Qilu Transportation Development Group, the project developer.
“The project will save the space for building solar farms and shorten the transmission distance,” said Xu Chunfu, the group’s chairman.
Electricity produced by the test section will be used to power highway lights, signboards, surveillance cameras, tunnel and toll gate facilities. Surplus power will be supplied to the state grid, Xu said.
Future functions to be developed include mobile charging for electric vehicles and providing internet connection.
The road has a designed life of 20 years. It has three layers — a concrete layer previous to light on top; thin amorphous silicon panels in the middle; a waterproof insulate protection layer at the bottom.