A remarkable rooftop solar project is now under construction in the UK. Solarcentury reports it is installing a solar roof containing over 4,000 photovoltaic panels above a bridge spanning the River Thames – a part of the Blackfriars station. When complete, the Blackfriars Bridge will be the world’s largest solar bridge.
This Victorian-style bridge, built in 1886, is being renovated by Network Rail to accommodate more passengers and provide improved train service. The project is scheduled for completion by mid-2012.
According to Solarcentury, the solar panels are expected to generate an estimated 900,000kWh of electricity annually, some 50 percent of the station’s energy requirements. CO2 emissions will be reduced by an estimated 511 tons per year. In addition to solar panels, other energy saving measures at the new station will include rain harvesting systems and sun pipes for natural lighting.
The Blackfriars upgrade is part of Network Rail’s Thameslink programme, intended to provide longer trains running on the Bedford to Brighton route through London. When the upgrade is complete, up to 24 trains per hour will be able to run on the central London section of the route, providing more commuter seating.
In a statement, Lindsay Vamplew, Network Rail’s project director for Blackfriars, said: “We’re creating a spacious, modern station and delivering a vastly improved train service for passengers, while at the same time installing London’s largest solar array to make Blackfriars more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.
Newman added that unknown to most, there are many buildings in London now powered by solar in the capital as investment in this technology increases. “For people to see that solar power is working is a vital step towards a clean energy.
Photos via Solarcentury
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