World's first solar highway vandalized: officials

Updated 2018-01-08 10:01:07

The world's first photovoltaic highway was vandalized and had sensitive parts stolen five days after opening in the East China city of Jinan, authorities said.

In late December, China opened the world's first solar expressway to traffic on a ring road in the Shandong Province city.

Five days later, authorities found the road had been vandalized and a section of see-through concrete had also mysteriously disappeared, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Friday.

The cut appeared clean and professional, an employee of project developer Qilu Transportation Development Group was quoted as saying by the newspaper. The vandals had also tampered with seven other solar-panel related parts, the report said.

Two lanes were temporarily closed, a group employee told the Global Times on Sunday, as highway maintenance workers fixed the damage and built a protective barrier along the road.

Only a small part of the road was damaged for reasons unknown, the employee said. Police have launched an investigation.

Highway developer Pavenergy said the damage cost more than 10,000 yuan (,540), Beijing Youth Daily reported.

While the highway was being constructed, unidentified people were also seen taking photos or stealing parts, the newspaper said.

The photovoltaic highway is made from underground solar panels and the surface of the road is made of a transparent, weight-bearing material that allows sunlight to penetrate, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Covering 5,875 square meters, the panels can generate 1 million kilowatt-hours of power a year, or enough to meet the daily requirements of about 800 households, according to the company.

"The project will save space on solar farms and shorten transmission distances," Xu Chunfu, group chairman, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

China leads the world in solar power development. Its annual increase of new installed generation capacity has been the world's largest since 2013.

As of the end of September, China's installed photovoltaic capacity hit 120 gigawatts, Xinhua said.

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