Peachtree Corners earlier this month announced that the city has installed a solar roadway system. The project, which creates solar-energy to power electric vehicles via newly-installed charging stations, is the “first” for a U.S. city. With the road solar panels and other future-forward technologies, Peachtree Corners bills itself as the “nation’s first smart city environment powered by real-world infrastructure and next-generation connectivity.”
The new solar roadway is located in a section of Technology Parkway’s autonomous vehicle test lane and was provided to the city through a partnership with The Ray, a nonprofit living laboratory and proving ground located along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85 spanning between LaGrange and the Georgia/Alabama state line.
It will produce more than 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for a “Level 2 EV” (electric vehicle) charger at city hall at no cost to EV motorists. The charger is also equipped with an energy storage system for nighttime charging. The Wattway solar roadway panels, manufactured by French transportation firm Colas Group in partnership with the French National Solar Energy Institute, were engineered to be more durable and efficient resulting in a 21 percent performance increase over previously deployed panels.
“As further reinforcement of Peachtree Corners’ leadership in introducing and developing the latest technologies in a real-world environment, we’re excited to have been working with The Ray to install the country’s first road surface solar panels manufactured by Wattway, within our one-of-a-kind autonomous vehicle lane,” Brandon Branham, chief technology officer, and assistant city manager of Peachtree Corners, said in a press release. “While this new form of 100-percent green, renewable energy will begin with supplying power to an EV charging station, our vision is to begin to power more existing infrastructure across the city, off-grid. We look forward to installing more panels throughout, which may include sidewalks, bike lanes, and many more surfaces.”
The Ray was a 2018 Finalist for the Fast Company “World Changing Ideas Award,” and was
featured on The Weather Channel as one of “Ten Best Ways to Save the Planet!”
“We are thrilled to be installing a solar road for the first time in an American city,” Harriet Anderson Langford, founder, and president of The Ray, said in the release. “Our entire organization, with the help of key corporate partners, is dedicated to advancing the future of transportation infrastructure around the world. We have had lots of success using roadways, as well as unused interstate right-of-way, to generate massive amounts of electricity for EVs. Proving this technology in an environment like Peachtree Corners helps us further demonstrate its effectiveness while moving us toward implementation on a larger scale.”