China’s heralded 'solar highway' closed after thieves stole one of the panels

It was supposed to be China’s grand “photovoltaic highway” — a solar energy-collecting, 0.6-mile stretch of road that symbolized the country’s extraordinary clean energy ambitions.

But that was last month. Five days after the road opened in the industrial city of Jinan for testing on Dec. 28, inspectors found that one six-foot panel was missing — allegedly plundered by thieves, according to the Qilu Evening News, a local newspaper. The purported thieves had also damaged seven surrounding panels. The road has since been closed.

“We can speculate the damage was not done by hand, nor does it appear it was done by a big vehicle,” Xu Dehao, a construction worker at Shandong Pavenergy, the company overseeing the project, told the newspaper. “It was more likely done by a professional team.”

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