Peachtree Corners ‘First’ U.S. City To Install Solar Panel Roadway System

Grid is used to power electric vehicles
Peachtree Corners 'First' U.S. City To Install Solar Panel Roadway System
Photo: Official

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.”

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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.”

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

16 Responses

  1. I am all for solar power but solar roads are a hugely stupid idea. Put the solar panels on poles above the road, not it the road itself.

  2. I think the concept is a very solid one, but it’s too bad they didn’t go with Solar Roadways here in America. I think their design is a little ahead of this one. I believe it could work based on the Solar Roadways product.

    1. Nah, it’s a poorly conceived idea for many reasons. It makes no sense putting the panels in the road. Put the panels next to the road, sure, but drive over them? No way. Dirt and grime will quickly reduce the amount of power they generate and chances are they are less durable than actual asphalt or cement. Repair costs more too. There is no reason to put a panel IN the road when you can put them somewhere else where cars aren’t driving over them.

    1. Peachtree Corners is correct. Peachtree Corners is located in Gwinnett County. It’s a fairly new city with 40,000 residents, incorporated July 2012. It is home to Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, a 3-mile 5G enabled autonomous vehicle and smart city living lab. The company that made the solar roadway panels is using Curiosity Lab’s test track to test out this new version.

    1. Well it’s not your money being ‘wasted,’ so what are you worried about.
      Innovation has to start, and develop, somewhere.
      So it hasn’t been completely successful in the past, that doesn’t mean the concept needs to be tossed out altogether.
      It sounds like Peachtree Corners is taking a very forward-thinking approach.
      I commend the community of Peachtree Corners for seeking solutions!

      1. The concept has been analyzed many times by many engineers. Even if they completely solve every problem and never ever have a breakdown, it’s still a failure of an idea. There simply us not enough energy hitting a flat surface, now inclined to point at the sun, let alone dirt and grime, etc. It’s not like there are not billions of acres of space to put much better and cheaper solutions, even inside cities.

  3. This in road installation has been proven to be a maintenance disaster in Europe. I guess it is another Trump project and some kind of grift on the investors or taxpayers. They should call it the Trump road. It will be the bestest most perfectest charging road that no one else could ever do. The stable genius that came up with it must be the one that said millions of coal jobs are coming back.

  4. This has to be the stupidest installation of solar panels in recent memory. Put them on roofs, not roadways. Peachtree Corners fell for the oldest roadway solar panel scam. What a waste of taxpayers money.

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