Georgia smart city Peachtree Corners has unveiled a new solar roadway system that will produce energy for a solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station at city hall.
The French-engineered road surface solar panels may power more parts of the city in the future such as streetlights and other infrastructure as well as provide backup for grid outages.
Solar panel first
Peachtree Corners, which is home to the Curiosity Lab 5G-enabled autonomous vehicle and smart city living laboratory, claims the installation marks the first road surface-powered solar panels to be activated in a US city.
The 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, which is a non-profit living lab and proving ground located along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85 spanning between LaGrange and the Georgia/Alabama state line.
The new system at Peachtree Corners will produce more than 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for a Level 2 EV charger at city hall at no cost to EV motorists. The charger is also equipped with an energy storage system for nighttime charging.
“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,” said Brandon Branham, chief technology officer and assistant city manager of Peachtree Corners.
He continued: “While this new form of 100 per cent 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 Wattway solar roadway panels, manufactured by French transportation innovator Colas Group in partnership with the French National Solar Energy Institute, were engineered to be more durable and efficient, resulting in a 21 per cent performance increase over previously deployed panels.
“We are thrilled to be installing a solar road for the first time in an American city,” said Harriet Anderson Langford, founder and president of The Ray. “Our entire organisation, 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.”