This project, presented at the COP21, is actually a photovoltaic road surface on which cars can obviously drive, and which can be used to produce solar electricity.
Colas have started trialling Wattway in the Vendée on a test site which is expected to be operational by the end of 2017. This test is both a first in France and in the world.
The French region of Vendée is seeking to achieve its energy transition goals via its “Vendée New Energies” plan: The plan has set a target of 50% renewable energy by 2025, with the actual level of renewable energy in the region standing at 10% today.
During their presentation at the COP21 event, Colas had claimed that Wattway could be installed directly over existing pavement. To test this theory out in their pilot project, Colas will cover a 50m² section of road surface with 42 Wattway slabs in a Vendée parking lot.
The car park is located in Vendéspace, a departmental project dedicated to recharging electric vehicles, with the Wattway panels expected to produce 6300 kWh of energy per year.
Jean-Charles Broizat, Wattway Director, commented on the trial, saying:
“During this stage in Wattway’s development, application sites allow us to experiment with uses of this breakthrough technology. We will test different types of architecture linked to networks with real applications using the energy produced by Wattway.
Each test site will be monitored and the data analysed. The Colas Scientific & Technical Campus (CST) will study the behaviour of the Wattway slabs while CEA Tech researchers will analyse the data pertaining to electricity generation.
After thorough testing across the hundreds of pilot sites and installed in France and the world, the TSA and CEA Tech will select the most relevant solutions to the market and use these solutions to develop offers for the commercialization phase, from 2018 onwards.”
So this represents a true test phase for this highly innovative green mobility project. At COP21, Wattway received a Climate Solutions trophy, where Colas indicated that 20 m² of slabs would power a home completely.