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China builds world’s first solar-powered highway in city of Jinan

China has started testing the world’s first photovoltaic expressway in the city of Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province as facility is ready for inauguration by end of December this year.

The photovoltaic panels, which look like pieces of glass, pave Jinan’s city ring expressway and can hold middle size vans with strong friction.

Analysts say the implication include serious drop in China’s demand for petrol cars in the near future, thus raising apprehension for economies like Nigeria that is dependent on crude oil sales.

With the capability of generating electricity under sunlight, photovoltaic roads can release power to electric vehicles passing on them. They are also able to instantly melt winter snow covering on the road.

The roads are also designed to provide technical support to unmanned vehicles in the future.

China’s first road test section with integral photovoltaic technology was completed in September 2017. The 160-meter-long, 660-square-meter test section was equipped with screens to show the power generation. Another photovoltaic road began testing in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province in November 2017.

The United States started research on solar-powered roads in 2006. However, the first solar road, for pedestrians and bicycles only, was completed in Netherlands in 2014. Solar panels are installed on some roads in Germany and Italy. France has launched a project to construct a 966-km photovoltaic road in 5 years.