Solar Could Power 10% of UK’s Electric Train Network
Up to 10% of the electricity needed to power the UK’s network of electric train routes could be provided by solar according to a new study.
The renewable traction power feasibility study, compiled by climate charity 10:10 and Imperial College London’s Energy Future Lab, found that connecting solar panels directly to rail, tube and tram networks up and down the country could even supply the electricity at prices cheaper than those available on the grid.
The report also revealed that the most significant opportunity for solar arrays to be installed is on the commuter network to the south of London. 200 solar farms set up alongside those routes could provide 15% of required power.
London’s famous Underground system also has a lot of potential with more than 50 sites being reviewed, including derelict land, and it was found that 6% of the network’s power demand could come via solar generation.
Those involved with the study are now actively seeking funding for a prototype of the power electronics components that are needed to scale the idea. They will attempt to prove the concept with up to ten community and commuter-owned pilot projects based along the rail lines in the south east.