China tests its first solar-powered highway that can charge electric cars

China has successfully conducted tests on its first solar-powered highway on Thursday. The kilometer-long stretch in Jinan city, the capital of Shandong province could revolutionise transport as it can support future wireless charging.

According to the builders, Qilu Transportation Development Group, the new road is the first freeway photovoltaic pavement experiment section in the world. Situated in the Jinan Ring Expressway, the stretch reportedly consists of three layers, i.e. insulating layer on the bottom, transparent concrete on the top and photovoltaic panels in the middle. Covering approximately 5,874 square meters, the panels on the road comes with a total installed capacity of 800 kilowatts.

Solar photovoltaic power generation pavement, more popularly called photovoltaic road surface is expected to change the way power is generated. The transparent, material allows the sunlight to penetrate, aiding in the production of electricity.

The power, thus generated, as per a report in XinhuaNet will be used to power highway lights, signboards, surveillance cameras, tunnel, and toll gate facilities, whereas the surplus power will be supplied to the state grid. "The project will save the space for building solar farms and shorten the transmission distance," said Xu Chunfu, the group's chairman was quoted in the report.

It is also expected that in the near future, the panels will do various other services including aiding wireless charging of vehicles, melting of snow on the surface and access to internet connection. It will also feature ports which will grant access to the information collecting devices.

What makes the new development significant is the role they can play in the future, where electric vehicles are expected to play a crucial role. China, with its ever-increasing economic power, is becoming highly dependent on imported petroleum to sustain its economic growth. This high vulnerability and risk of pollution have prompted the country to carry out projects that will replace conventional power sources with alternative energy sources.

The country, which is reportedly the largest producer of solar energy is also going forward with plans to replace conventional vehicles with electric vehicles.

Source- Money Control