Abandoned railway tracks in Paris

Solar roadways fail

When experts first proposed the concept of solar roadways, it seemed like a great idea. With access to so much existing infrastructure, adding solar panels to roads appeared like an easy solution. Photovoltaic roadways garnered interest as an advanced way to harvest energy off of impermeable surfaces.


The solar energy industry has increased exponentially, with a 48% annual growth rate in the last decade. As a market with such high potential, engineers rushed to discover more innovative ways to utilize this technology.

Unfortunately, the concept was misguided and proved to be entirely ineffective. Not only did the solar panels produce less than half of the energy proposed, but developers also found that the large-scale installations were incredibly impractical financially.

The first solar roadway project in France, called Wattway, was a complete failure and was rendered unusable in less than two years. Around the world, implemented trial projects also experienced issues. Despite the high investments made, solar roadways fail. Why?

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Metronome is an alternative, flexible energy-independent vehicle idea for vacant railway tracks. The greater Paris area is accompanied by a rebirth of new public transport systems: streetcars, Vélib, or Autolib to name just a few. New scales of spaces are reappearing like the neighborhood and bring together the hybridization of new, more flexible, and local forms of transport to respond to the development of a more environmental society.

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