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Published on July 7th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


World’s Largest Solar Bridge Is Halfway Complete

July 7th, 2012 by  

At the Brackfriars train station platform, London’s largest photovoltaic solar panel array is being constructed. This is also to be the world’s largest solar bridge. This project will consist of 4,400 solar panels from Solar Century that are expected to generate 900 MWh per year (total capacity of the array will be 1.103 MW).

Brackfriars Solar Bridge Project

Solar Century is the UK-based company that is constructing this project. This project is expected to meet half of the Brackfriars station’s electricity requirements, and avoid 511 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from traditional power plants.

“Blackfriars Bridge is an ideal location for solar; a new, iconic large roof space, right in the heart of London,” said Solar Century chief executive Derry Newman in a statement.

“Station buildings and bridges are fixed parts of our urban landscape and it is great to see that this one will be generating renewable energy every day into the future. For people to see that solar power is working is a vital step towards a clean energy future.”

This is one of the types of solar projects I admire most, primarily due to the fact that the solar panels are being put to use in more than one way. They don’t just generate electricity, but they also shade the bridge.

Another benefit of this type of setup is that it utilizes existing roof space above the bridge which would not otherwise be used, so land is not being wasted on the solar panels.

Other resource conservation systems are being set up at Brackfriars, as well, including sun pipes to provide natural sun lighting instead of using electric lighting.

“The Victorian rail bridge at Blackfriars is part of our railway history,” he said. “Constructed in the age of steam, we’re bringing it bang up to date with 21st century solar technology to create an iconic station for the city.”

Source: The Guardian
Photo Credit: Solar Century

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • drjohnm

    “but they also shade the bridge, and they thus enable people to be far more comfortable, and even turn their air conditioning off, when waiting in slow traffic, which can save a lot of fuel” – this is a rail bridge. There are no cars.

    • “Blackfriars Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames in London, between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge, carrying the A201 road.”

      • drjohnm

        Correct, there are two Blackfriars bridges and they are about 100m apart. One is for cars, the other for trains. The article indicates that car drivers will be shaded. That is wrong – its the rail bridge that is being updated. I am just commenting about the poor reporting.

        Go to
        and drop a google street view on the road bridge looking east. You will see the railway bridge.

        BTW, I have worked very close to the south side of the bridges for many years and later commuted into Blackfriars from Kent. 

  • Bun_yip

    Absolutely brilliant, well done to whoever let this go through.  Britain needs to move forward in this way.  Proud to be british again.

  • Reza

    900 megawatts per annum.   There is no hour in it.  In a year, it produces 900 MW, and you can also say 900 megawatt years, which is the same thing.
    This is fantastic.

    • Ronald Brak

      I think 900 MWh per year is fine for a popular article and less confusing for the average reader who probably has never encountered a megawatt year.

    • Ross

      I don’t think that’s correct.

      900 MW per annum = 900 MW/year is not the same as 900 MW.years, they’re dimensionally different.

      900MW.years = 900MJ/s * (3600*24*365s) = 2.84 * 10^16 Joules is rather a lot of energy. It won’t collect that much energy from the Sun.
      The system is predicted to output 900MW.hour of energy per year.

      900MW.hour per year = 900 MJ/s * (3600 s) per year = 3.24 * 10^12 Joules per year

      The solar panel area is 6000 meters squared which is kilowatt scale. Over a year that will collect energy in the MW.hour scale. 

    • Bill_Woods

      900 MW-h per year = 100 kW-years per year, or an average power of 100 kW. In Britain, that’ll take a nameplate capacity of about 1000 kW.

      … yep: “a 1.103MW solar array”

  • Greg90814


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