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Thieves steal chunk of China’s new solar highway

Thieves steal chunk of China’s new solar highway thumbnail

Thieves in China have vandalised a newly opened solar highway, less than a week after the road was christened with much fanfare.

The one-kilometre stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan consists of solar panels under a layer of transparent concrete, allowing cars to drive over the photovoltaic cells.

But just five days after it opened on 28 December, workers found a 1.8-metre section had been removed by thieves. Reports of the heist did not emerge until this week.

Workers on the project suspected the burglars stole the panel in an attempt to duplicate the technology, since the materials themselves were inexpensive, according to local media.

The concept of roads incorporating solar panels into the road has existed for years, but only recently have cities begun to build test projects. A solar bicycle path opened in Amsterdam in 2014 and a village in France opened a one-kilometre solar road in 2016.

The world’s first photovoltaic road is built with transparent concrete on top and can bear the weight of small vehicles and medium-sized trucks.
The world’s first photovoltaic road is built with transparent concrete on top and can bear the weight of small vehicles and medium-sized trucks. Photograph: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Those projects were plagued by high costs, and the highway section in China, which covers two lanes and an emergency lane, faced similar obstacles. The road cost about 3,000 yuan (£340) per square metre, according to an expert interviewed by state broadcast CCTV.

Before the highway even opened there had been several attempts to steal components and technology, an employee at Shandong Pavenergy, the road’s developer, was quoted as saying. Unknown men often wandered around the construction site and took photos of the project.

“Even after the project is done, people are still stealing,” he said. “It’s very upsetting.”

The one-kilometre section of highway can generate up to 1m kilowatt-hours of power a year, enough to power about 800 homes, according to state news agency Xinhua. China has the most installed solar capacity at 78.1 gigawatts, almost double second place Japan.


16 Comments on "Thieves steal chunk of China’s new solar highway"

  1. the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that would propel Americans to the Moon.Makati1 on Wed, 10th Jan 2018 6:45 pm 

    Corporate thieves are everywhere. The US just imports their techies. (von Braun*) They have none of their own anymore.

    *Wernher von Braun (1912–1977) was one of the most important rocket developers and champions of space exploration during the period between the 1930s and the 1970s. … Before the Allied capture of the V–2 rocket complex, von Braun engineered the surrender of 500 of his top rocket scientists, along with plans and test vehicles, to the Americans. … the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that would propel Americans to the Moon.”

    A German Nazi built NASA. The Americans were to stupid. I wonder how many Americans actually know this FACT? Few, I bet.

  2. Makati1 on Wed, 10th Jan 2018 6:46 pm 


  3. Makati1 on Wed, 10th Jan 2018 7:30 pm 

    News of importance: “The US Has Devolved into a Police State”

    “…The school teacher is surprised to be interrupted in her conversation with a school board member by a policeman. She attempts to continue the conversation and is ordered to leave the room by the black cop. She complies with the black cop’s illegal order. As she leaves the room, the black cop knocks her down, handcuffs her, calls backup, and sends her to jail. …

    This is an accurate picture of America today. The woman did nothing, broke no law, no school board rule, no meeting rule, complied with the black cop and was still brutalized and arrested.”

    Definition of police state. : a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures. M-W

    Nuff said.

  4. MASTERMIND on Wed, 10th Jan 2018 7:37 pm 


    Why do you give a damn even? I mean you moved way the hell away. And you say you hate America and Americans. Why would you care then if they are being brutalized?

  5. Makati1 on Wed, 10th Jan 2018 8:01 pm 

    No, MM, YOU say I hate America and Americans. I DO hate TPTB it currently has and those who wave the flag and support it like Davy. I do NOT hate the innocent, but they will have to suffer along with the guilty. That’s how it works. It is called “life”. The US MSM calls it “collateral damage”. It’s coming home to America.

    Americans will not wake up until they actually, personally feel the pain they are inflicting on the rest of the world. THAT is why I cheer on the collapse and 3rd world America. It is time that the US cannot kill and plunder at will across the planet and the best way to end it is to collapse the system that supports it. I cheer it on. It is fast approaching.

  6. MASTERMIND on Wed, 10th Jan 2018 8:14 pm 

    Poor Steve Bannon Clogs hero

  7. "Lucifer" on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 10:34 am 

    Makati1, when the Americans “suffer” as you put it, the rest of the world will suffer too, that includes you, so you better be prepared unless you are one of the chosen which i somehow doubt it.

  8. Antius on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 11:50 am 

    ” Makati1, when the Americans “suffer” as you put it, the rest of the world will suffer too, that includes you, so you better be prepared unless you are one of the chosen which i somehow doubt it.”

    Exactly so. Here is the sequence of events:

    1. Excessive borrowing and growing trade deficit leads to a decline in the value of the dollar (already happened) and a rise in inflation (weak because of global deflation in commodity prices due to weak demand and stagnant wages in China);

    2. Fed raises interest rates to strengthen the dollar, in order to prevent capital flight (this could happen soon);

    3. The effect on the trade deficit depends upon the nature of exports from the country. High tech manufactured exports like machinery and computer systems, with few or no international competitors may keep their sales volume. Commodity exports tend to fall. Imports tend to rise in volume, because they are relatively cheaper. Hence, the rich tend to do well under high interest rates, whereas the poor do badly.

    4. As lending declines, the US economy slows down; incomes stop growing, trade deficit narrows – foreign imports decline. Other nations have to reduce the cost of their exports to make them more affordable, which dents their earnings.

    5. If the economy is big enough, and they don’t come much bigger than the US, other nations raise interest rates to prevent capital flight from their economies to the US. This levels the playing field with exchange rates, but increases the cost of borrowing in their economies. Hence, all other economies slow down – due to reduced investment and reduced demand for exports as the US and other economies slowdown.

    There are few ways of avoiding these negative consequences. If you don’t raise interest rates, capital flight degrades the value of your currency, making imports unaffordable, pushing down both domestic and foreign investment.

    1. Those effects will be less severe the bigger your economy is relative to the US (i.e. China / EU). The problem is no other economy is large enough for size to be very effective.

    2. You could make unique, indispensable and universally valuable products (Germany). Again, this helps, but not really enough.

    3. You could implement capital controls. The problem here is that they don’t tend to work. If people can make money by investing abroad, they will find a way and preventing them from doing so only makes them poorer.

    4. If you have large dollar holdings (China) you could sell them and buy back your own currency to try and reduce the disparity between the two. There are two problems here. (a) You are burning cash by selling something valuable and buying back something less valuable. (b) You are reducing the ability of the world to buy your products, by removing your own currency from global exchanges and weakening the dollar, which will then buy fewer of your exports.

    5. You could peg your currency to a commodity like gold, hoping the intrinsic value of the commodity will hold up its value. The problem here is that commodity prices tend to crash during economic slowdowns. Gold is just a metal at the end of the day. You cannot eat it.

    By and large, the pain is going to be shared.

  9. MASTERMIND on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 12:12 pm 


    The entire OCED has already slowed down into a depression level of GDP per capita growth of 0.5%..Only thing worse would be prolonged never ending recession.

  10. MASTERMIND on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 12:16 pm 

    The entire world is in a depression right now of 1 percent GDP per capita..When the oil prices rise higher and the oil shortages hit the world economy will collapse. And with the economy goes the government and the rule of law. And then the grids go down. And it becomes total anarchy! Widespread vilonce, murder, rape, cannibalism. A pure nightmare on earth!

  11. Boat on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 1:29 pm 


    You don’t get to decide what depression or recession looks like. The world is fine and doing great historically. In fact to good in my view.

  12. DerHundistlos on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 5:58 pm 

    Oh my, thank goodness this is a newsworthy story. What a waste of time.

  13. DMyers on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 7:22 pm 


    This is probably Communist Chinese propaganda intended to implant the idea that these solar highways are even worth stealing. What better place for solar energy collection than through good old transparent concrete on a highway?

    One thing you want when solarizing is sunshine. On a highway, the cars cast shadows and block the sunshine.

    The monetary and energy requirements involved with cleaning a highway surface to maximize solar penetration at all times would seem potentially exorbitant. Bring on the Windex Zamboni.

    Do we want to expose our tender photovoltaic to the worst possible weather conditions and to weight bearing?

    With the above problems and others that might be imagined, the solar highway does not seem like the best idea. Though I don’t really know exactly what the thieves lumbered away with, I’m not persuaded that it was worth the trouble.

  14. Cloggie on Thu, 11th Jan 2018 10:35 pm 

    @DMyers – China is smaller than the US. Half of it is desert and they have 4 times the populace. There is a reason why densely populated countries like China and, on the other of the scale, tiny Holland, embark on these kind of projects.

  15. Davy on Fri, 12th Jan 2018 5:17 am 

    “China and, on the other of the scale, tiny Holland, embark on these kind of projects.”

    wow, neder gets it. You are in a pickle just like China with horrible population densities that can’t end well.

  16. Kenz300 on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 1:55 pm 

    Walking, bicycles, mass transit and electric vehicles are all part of making cities livable and sustainable.
    No emission travel and great exercise.  Here is a terrific video on urban planning and bicycle travel. Anyone that hopes to increase the quality of life in cities should view it. It would be interesting to do a series on urban planning and the changes that technology, electric and autonomous vehicles will bring.

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