Peachtree Corners, GA, activated a new solar roadway system, making it the nation’s first city to utilize road surface solar panels. The system generates energy that feeds a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station located at city hall.
A partnership with The Ray, a nonprofit research and testing center for transportation technology and infrastructure, brought the system to Peachtree Corners. The roadway spans 18 miles on Interstate 85, between LaGrange, Georgia, and the state’s border with Alabama. It is placed in a segment of Technology Parkway’s testing lane for self-driving vehicles.
“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.
French transportation pioneer Colas Group, partnered with the French National Solar Energy Institute, manufactured the panels for this project, resulting in the most durable and efficient designs engineered thus far, noted proponents.
Specifically, this system will produce more than 1,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for a Level 2 EV charger. This public is able to utilize the charging station at no cost, and the charger will also have a reserve to supply power after sundown. Harriet Anderson Langford, founder and president of The Ray, reported the organization would like to incorporate more panels into city planning in areas such as sidewalks and bike lanes, which could be used for additional electric infrastructure, according to city officials.
The use of this system has proven the municipality a leader in environmentally sustainable, autonomous city planning. According to city officials, Peachtree Corners is “the nation’s first smart city environment powered by real-world infrastructure and next-generation connectivity.”