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Solar roads may brighten your drive.

IF YOUR job is filling in road potholes may I humbly suggest you make your way to the Jobcentre.

Not because the money for doing this essential work has run out but because potholes are a thing of the past. I realise at this point you may be thinking that I am on some illicit substance. Stick with me. The world of road surfacing is about to undergo a massive innovation. Solar roads.

Imagine you get up in the morning, flick on the kettle and your cuppa is powered from the energy captured by the miles of road outside your house.

Our “auld alliance” partners, the French, are on the case. The transport giants Colas have developed a road surface lined in solar cells. Colas are working with the French government, who have pledged to install 621 miles of so-called solar roads over the next five years.

Colas call their special road surface Wattway, and despite a not very original name, claim that for every 200sq ft of the stuff they can create enough electricity to power the average home.

Apparently the surface is very durable and provides excellent grip.

Wattway road main

Wattway is only a few millimetres thick and doesn’t require existing roads to be replaced. It can be applied to existing road surfaces, once the potholes have been filled in just one last time.

One thing is certain, Wattway won’t be cheap and therein lies the problem. Who pays?

Do the power firms pay as solar roads are an energy provision resource? I think we both know the answer there. Do Government stump up for it? They are pleading poverty so, again, think on. Does the motorist and homeowner pay? Almost certainly.

Colas are conducting final tests and are hopeful of starting installation of Wattway in the coming months. Solar roads, eh? In my experience if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

I suspect the road surfacing crews can breathe easy, we’ll need them for a while yet.