In preparation for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Tokyo is installing a series of ‘solar roads’ to boost their reputation as a progressively eco-friendly city.
The roads will generate energy through a series of solar panels that are installed underneath the surface of the streets. A special resin will cover the surface of the roads so that heavier vehicles can drive on the roads without damaging the technology.
The world’s first solar paneled road was constructed in Normandy, France back in December 2016. While the project was criticized for its high costs of construction, The Independentsays that the Tokyo government hopes to offset the costs of the initiative by building the roads “on government-owned facilities such as car parks, where the amount of electricity generated by installing the system would justify the cost.”
The news outlet goes on to say that the city hopes that by installing the solar panels before the Olympic games, they will help to popularize the technology, which will then encourage solar road development around the world and bring down the cost of solar roads.
Japan’s first solar road was already installed outside of a 7-11 store in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture back in May. The road annually generates 16,145 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which supplies roughly 9% of the store’s energy consumption.