Work reaches halfway point on world’s largest solar bridge05. July 2012 | Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers | By: Becky Beetz
Solarcentury has reached the halfway point in its installation work on the Blackfriars rail bridge in London, the U.K. When complete, the installation is expected to be the largest of its kind in the capital and the world’s longest solar bridge.
Work on the project began at the start of last October. Until now, Solarcentury has installed 2,200 of Panasonic’s HIT photovoltaic modules. Overall, 4,400 will be installed across 6,000 square meters on the roof of the rail bridge, which will be home to Blackfriars train station. The system is expected to expected to generate 900,000 kWh of electricity annually.
Commenting, Frans van den Heuvel CEO of Solarcentury said, "Architecturally challenging, the project demonstrates just what is possible with this versatile technology [solar] in dense urban areas. We’ve been working amongst one of the most complex build programmes in the country, at height, over water and live train lines. It’s a great feeling to be half way there."
Network Rail is in charge of rebuilding the station. Senior program manager for Blackfriars, Paul Byrne, added, "We’ve rebuilt Blackfriars on a 125 year old rail bridge, creating a 21st century, solar-powered station on Victorian foundations. Blackfriars’ iconic location spanning the River Thames makes it a showcase for the potential of solar power, and an important benchmark for Network Rail as we look to make best use of sustainable technology on the rail network."
He said that while work on the photovoltaic system is scheduled to be completed later this year, the station will open to passengers this month.
On the impact the system hopes to have, Shigeki Komatsu, director, Panasonic Eco Solution Energy Management (Europe Solar Business Division) said, "Whilst commuters at Blackfriars station might not notice the solar panels, the solar will play an important role in their travel experience every day. We hope this will have a real impact on the way people see green energy, proving it as reliable, unobtrusive and the energy of today."
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