Largest Solar Clean Energy Producing Railway Bridge ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
As solar photovoltaic or solar pv for short , technology becomes more efficient and less expensive there is more and more competition for usable and appropriate space to install the supporting structure, panels, wiring and inverter systems. Several companies are developing solar pv systems that float on water. One Japanese company has actually developed a concept that orbits in space and beams the solar clean energy down to earth.
Thin film solar which is more flexible but so far not as efficient as silicon based solar pv is starting to be used in a variety of clever ways that enhance the architecture or appeal of modern buildings.
A new idea that makes use of what is mostly unused roof area is to install solar pv panels on the top of the worlds many bridges. In london England at the famous Blackfrier railway station the bridge over the Thames river has been given a solar makeover.
The new bridge is so far the world’s largest solar producing railway bridge ( or any bridge for that mater) , boasting over 4400 solar panels and covering over 6000 square meters while producing 50% of the stations electricity requirements. Even with London’s dreary and overcast weather the system produces 935 Mw Hours per year of clean solar electricity while avoiding over 455,000 kg’s of CO2 into the atmosphere.
As with all solar power installations the other large advantage is that over the next 25 years this system will continue to produce electricity with no increase in cost other than the cleaning of the panels.
Here is a time lapse video of the construction of the bridge.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.