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China Finishes World’s First Solar Highway

Queensland is currently working hard on finding new ways to innovate on renewable energy for the country of Australia, with its new EV strategy, and plans to install several solar panels on the Gold Coast in order to create a solar-powered Electric Super Highway, which the government is looking to connect Gold Coast to Cairns. But, China, which has recently acquired a reputation as one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy, has beaten the Sunshine State to the punch.

China recently opened the world’s first solar highway designed for generating electricity for the surrounding area, on top of handling the usual highway matters, such as traffic. The new highway, located in Jinan, and runs for 1 km, with a total size of 5.875km2, and is comprised of two lanes and an extra emergency strip. The new highway has had some details about it revealed, which includes that it is composed of three layers:

  • The top layer of transparent concrete, designed to function similarly to normal concrete, whilst allowing the second layer to function.
  • The second layer of photovoltaic solar panels, sandwiched between the first layer and the last.
  • The last layer located at the bottom; proper safety insulation.

Other countries, such as France and the Netherlands have already opened their own solar roads for the public, but China is boldly claiming that theirs is not only the largest, but also the most efficient, keeping in line with the country’s recently acquired reputation as one of the leaders in solar energy production, with the Aussies coming in at 10th in BP’s rankings in 2016.

France’s solar panel road was the first of its kind, but it was neither a highway, nor anywhere near the size of China’s which covers twice as much area. The Netherlands’ version is, meanwhile, is a solar bike path, which they opened far earlier than anyone, back in 2014.

The world is moving to embrace solar power, and Australia is no different, with Queensland’s aforementioned plans to install several solar panels on the Gold Coast to make the Electric Super Highway Network. Meanwhile, in NSW the National Roads and Motorists’ Association, is working on a fast-charging network for electric vehicles across the state, which is expected to include at least 40 regional charging stations located across NSW, with the aim of encouraging e-vehicle drivers to make longer trips.

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