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'Solar Highway' Closes After Solar Panels Pilfered

Friday, January 19, 2018

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A 6-foot solar panel was stolen earlier this month from China’s first photovoltaic highway. Those who committed the theft also damaged seven surrounding panels in the process.

The 0.6-mile stretch of road, located in Jinan, opened for testing on Dec. 28, 2017, and five days later, a routine inspection revealed the theft and the damage.

Panel Theft

Xu Dehao, a construction worker at Shandong Pavenergy, the company overseeing the project, speculated that the damage was not done by hand, nor done by a large vehicle.

"It was more likely done by a professional team," he said.

Damaged parts of the roadway appeared to be corroded by some kind of liquid. A nearby fence was also damaged.

Photovoltaic Highway

The road has three layers, according to reports: an insulating layer along the bottom, a middle layer populated with photovoltaic technology and a third, top layer of transparent concrete that is flexible and protects the technology beneath.

According to Zhang Hongchao, an engineering expert at China's Tongji University (the institution that helped design the project) the roadway could produce 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually—enough to power 800 households.

The photovoltaic highway cost about $42.50 per square foot, he added.

Using solar panels in this capacity could also help melt snow on the roadways during the winter, making driving safer. There is also the potential for remote-charging electric cars.

Even though China has labeled this stretch of road as “the first photovoltaic highway in the world,” the village of Tourouvre-au-Perche, located in France, unveiled a similar endeavor in 2016.

The damaged area has been repaired, and an investigation into the theft is underway.


Tagged categories: AS; China; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Roads/Highways; Solar; Solar energy

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