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French solar road a total failure

The first French attempt to build a road that had solar panels embedded in it to produce power has turned out to be a total failure, after only two years.

Despite the hype surrounding solar roads, two years after this one was introduced as a trial, the project has turned out to be a colossal failure — it’s neither efficient nor profitable, according to a report by Le Monde.

The unfortunate truth is that this road is in such a poor state, it isn’t even worth repairing. Last May, a 100-meter stretch had deteriorated to such a state that it had to be demolished. According to Le Monde’s report, various components of the road don’t fit properly — panels have come loose and some of the solar panels have broken into fragments.

On top of the damage and poor wear of the road, the Normandy solar track also failed to fulfill its energy-production goals. The original aim was to produce 790 kWh each day, a quantity that could illuminate a population of between 3,000 and 5,000 inhabitants. But the rate produced stands at only about 50% of the original predicted estimates.

The article notes that a 230-foot-long Dutch solar bicycle path has been more successful, meeting its energy goals. It also has not deteriorated. I suspect that both results are because it is being used by bicycles and pedestrians, not cars.

What always bothers me about these projects is not their sincere good intentions, but the unwillingness of their promoters to honestly assess the final results, good or bad. They laud the project’s good intentions as if that is all that matters, and rip into anyone who questions the practicality of the project. When the project fails these same promoters, usually politicians, disappear into the darkness, ignoring the bad result as they promote some new pie-in-the-sky proposal.

In this context I am especially reminded of Democratic politicians who loved Venezuela’s socialist experiment, until it went bankrupt as every socialist experiment always does.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

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