The new Blackfriars rail station in London has opened this week. Taking only five years to build, the bridge crosses the River Thames, hosts Blackfriars rail station, and, surprisingly, boasts a total of 4,400 roof-mounted solar panels making it the world’s largest solar-powered bridge!
Solar-powered Bridge Will Cut Carbon Emissions
The panels are expected to cut the stations’ carbon emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes per year. (That’s roughly the average weight of 73 African elephants for some fun perspective!) The photovoltaic panels will provide up to half of the energy for London Blackfriars station. This will reduce the carbon footprint of its train routes to the south east of England.
What First Capital Connect Said:
“Electric trains are already the greenest form of public transport!” David Statham, Managing Director of First Capital Connect stated, “This roof gives our passengers an even more sustainable journey. The distinctive roof has also turned the station into an iconic landmark visible for miles along the River Thames.”
The Company Behind the Solar-powered Bridge:
Solarcentury installed the panels in a series of phases over the past two years – only stopping to reduce inconvenience during the 2012 Olympic Games. It was one of the company’s most complex tasks to date as a giant jigsaw over a large river which was a lot more complicated than a warehouse rooftop where they would normally install them. “We had different sections of roof available at different times to fit in with this complicated jigsaw of getting everything up and going,” explained Gavin Roberts, Solarcentury’s senior project manager.
London’s Efforts and The Future!
It is expected that the new solar-powered bridge will give a major boost to London’s efforts to become a sustainable city. Solarcentury’s Suzanna Lashford, head of commercial sales, hopes the project will inspire more developers to turn towards other sources of renewable energy. She said, “Network Rail has invested funds into the project is a great sign for the solar industry. They’re an old English institution and they’re looking to the future to make investments into non-core technologies for the business, and that’s a great statement that other large corporations in the country can start realising.”