China: Thieves Steal Part of The New Solar Highway

Thieves in China have taken a piece of the solar highway that opened just a few days ago. The solar highway, which stretches for less than a mile, is part of a project that could soon be in other cities.

Solar Panels and Transparent Concrete

The solar highway, located in Jinan, has solar panels under a layer of transparent concrete. The project is still being tested but there could be a number of benefits once it is complete. One of those is that electric cars could have the ability to charge as they travel on it.

The solar highway opened just a few days ago but the project is already facing a problem. Five days after the official opening, workers found that a section had been stolen. Workers believe the thieves have a bigger plan with the parts stolen. They told local media that they suspect the thieves have taken the section to duplicate the technology. They said the materials used on the highway aren’t expensive.

Not The First Time

Theft and attempts are nothing new during this solar project. An employee of the company behind the project was quoted as saying that there had been attempts in the past. The employee said it happened before the highway even opened. He added that unknown people would often take pictures and walk around the construction site. The road costs  CNY 3,000 ($459) per square meter.

The solar highway currently stretches for a short distance but the project could spread to other cities in the future if it all goes well. There are plenty of benefits of having a solar highway but there are also a few problems, including thefts and cost.

Power Goal and Other Projects

In August 2017, reports revealed that China had reached its 2020 solar power goal. Two years earlier, the country had become the world’s largest producer of photovoltaic power. China’s solar power capacity reportedly more than doubled in 2016.

China is not the first to work on a solar project but they say they are the first to have a photovoltaic highway. The Xinhua news agency reported that the highway can generate enough power in a year to power 800 homes. In 2016, France opened a solar panel road that generates enough electricity to power the street lights. In 2014, the Netherlands opened a solar bike lane. The cost of that project was said to be over $3 million.