Highway robbery in China as Solar Road makes sense to someone

stolen roadway
via Qilu Evening News

A big chunk of it got pried up and stolen in what looks like corporate espionage.

We noted earlier that there was a glorious great leap forward in solar roadbuilding in China, with the opening of a 2-kilometre (1.2 mile) stretch of photovoltaics covered in some form of transparent concrete. One possible benefit of putting solar panels under the road might be that they are harder to steal.

But that didn't stop some enterprising thieves who showed up just five days after the roadway opened, to carefully pry out a six-inch by six-foot piece of road. According to the Google translation of Qilu Evening News,

Insiders said that if from a monetary point of view, it is obviously not worth the damage to the transparent concrete friction layer of the photovoltaic pavement, and the economic value of the missing items on the scene is very low. In terms of degree of destruction, "the spoilers may be interested in the technology."

It evidently was not the first time that there was industrial espionage going on; according to "a relevant person in charge of Shandong Guangshi Energy Co", strangers were lurking around the construction site, taking pictures and stealing components. They are worried about the effect this will have. "Attention has been extended to the international level, the impact of the incident is not good."

However, we also learned that there is a lot more to this road than just generating electricity. According to TechNode, there are electromagnetic induction coils that will be able to charge electric cars as they drive, and sensors that collect data that can be used for traffic management. In winter, the power can be diverted to melting snow and ice. Perhaps there are some ideas worth stealing in this solar roadway.

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