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Monday, January 2, 2017

Innovative wattway ~ of solar panels opens in France

James Watt, a Scottish inventor born in 1736 is well known for the steam engine that was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution across the globe.  The watt (symbol: W) is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units (SI), named after James Watt. The unit is defined as 1 joule per second and can be used to express the rate of energy conversion or transfer with respect to time.

In the recent past, there is so much talk about ‘renewable energy’ - energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.  Solar panel absorbs  the sun's rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating. A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged, connect assembly of typically 6×10 solar cells. Solar Photovoltaic panels constitute the solar array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications. Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions, and typically ranges from 100 to 365 watts. A photovoltaic system typically includes a panel or an array of solar modules, a solar inverter, and sometimes a battery and/or solar tracker and interconnection wiring.

After wind energy, there have been attempts to install solar energy panels in many places in India, with somewhat limited success !  - away in France, a  solar panel road, claimed to be the world's first, has opened. The 0.6 miles (1km) stretch of road in the small Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is paved with 2,880 solar panels, which convert energy from the sun into electricity.

Daily Mail reports that there is hope that  the road could eventually provide enough energy to power the small village's street lights.  The 1km (0.6-mile) stretch of road in the small Normandy village covers an area of  2,800 sq m (9,186 sq ft). Some 2,000 motorists will use the RD5 road every day during a two-year test period. It is hoped that it will eventually harness enough energy to powter the village's street lights. The road is expected to produce 280 MWh of electricity a year. While the daily production will fluctuate according to weather and seasons, it is expected to reach 767 kWh per day, with peaks up to 1,500 kWh per day in summer.

Named the  'Wattway' – the road features 2,800 sq m of panels and was showcased today at an inauguration ceremony attended by French minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal. During the testing period, assessments will be made as to whether the road is capable of generating enough power to run the village's street lights.  It is reported that Tourouvre-au-Perchef is home to around 3,400 residents. The project is said to have cost €5m (£4.2m/$5.1) and was financed by the French government. Prior to the unveiling of the solar road, the panels were tested at four car parks across France.  The constructor was Colas, part of giant telecoms group Bouygues, and financed by the state.

Not only will the road's durability will be under scrutiny, but experts will also need to establish whether the village in north western gets enough sunshine to produce enough power. In October, a solar-powered cycle path was opened in Poland. The track is studded with thousands of phosphor-coated crystals which emit light after being charged by the sun. The luminous cycling strip - which is 100 metres long - is located in a park near the town of Lidzbark Warminski, in the north of Poland. It was created by the technology firm TPA Instytut Badań Technicznych Sp. z o.o. and is currently still in the testing phase.

Tailpiece:  the Wattway was inaugurated by Ecology Minister of France - Marie-Ségolène Royal, a  prominent member of the Socialist Party. She was President of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council from 2004 to 2014. She was the Socialist candidate in the 2007 presidential election, becoming the first woman in France to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major party. She lost to Nicolas Sarkozy. François Hollande, the current President of France, is the father of her four children. She was appointed by him to the vice-Chair directorship of the Banque Publique d'Investissement (BPI) in 2013. She has served as Minister for Ecology since 2014, in the Valls then Cazeneuve cabinets.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Dec 2016.


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