London’s largest solar panel installation reaches half way point

Posted at July 7, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on London’s largest solar panel installation reaches half way point

The project to install London’s largest solar panel array on the roof of the new Blackfriars station spanning the River Thames has reached the half way point.

Today the 2200th solar panel out of a total of 4400 Panasonic modules will be installed on the new station roof by contractors Solarcentury.

Network Rail is building the new station on top of the Victorian Blackfriars bridge to accommodate longer trains and give passengers more room.

The 6000 m2 solar installation on the 250 m-long roof is expected to generate 900,000 kWh of electricity annually, providing up to 50% of the station’s energy needs and saving over 500 tonnes of CO2.

“We’ve rebuilt Blackfriars on a 125 year old rail bridge, creating a 21st century, solar-powered station on Victorian foundations,” says Network Rail’s senior programme manager for Blackfriars, Paul Byrne.

The station will be opened for passengers this month, with work completed on the bridge and the solar panels later in the year.

Byrne described the development as a “showcase for the potential of solar power”, which will become a benchmark for Network Rail’s efforts to use sustainable technology.

“Blackfriars will be one of the world’s great solar power installations,” says Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury. “Architecturally challenging, the project demonstrates just what is possible with this versatile technology in dense urban areas.”

The challenges of working over water and live train lines has made the project one of the most complex, says Heuvel, but “it’s a great feeling to be half way there.”

When complete, Blackfriars will be the largest of a handful of solar bridges in the world. A solar footbridge was constructed in Brisbane, Australia in 2009 and earlier this year 16,000 solar panels were installed on top of a train tunnel in Belgium.

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UK home solar panel installation numbers soar (4-Jul)
UK community solar farm offer opens for business (25-Jun)
Green light for Tower Bridge energy efficiency makeover (15-Nov 2011)

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