The first road surface-powered solar panels to be activated in the United States are now powering a solar-powered EV charging station outside of city hall in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. Peachtree Corners is the nation’s first smart city environment powered by real-world infrastructure and next-generation connectivity, with more than 40,000 residents.
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, a nonprofit living laboratory working to build a zero carbon, zero waste, zero death highway system. The Ray is located along 18 miles of Interstate 85, between LaGrange and the Georgia/Alabama state line.
“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.
The new solar roadway system will produce more than 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for a Level 2 EV charger, which will have no costs to EV motorists. The charger is also equipped with an energy storage system for nighttime charging.
Manufactured by French transportation innovator Colas Group, in partnership with the French National Solar Energy Institute, the Wattway solar roadway panels were engineered to be more durable and efficient than previously deployed panels, resulting in a 21% increase in performance.
“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 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.”
Branham said, “While this new form of 100% 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.”