Kerpen-Horrem, Germany is one of the first and best examples of the potential for solar energy in transportation. The German train company Deutsche Bahn successfully implemented the first solar-powered train in its two mile rail tunnel on its route from Paris to Amsterdam in 2011. The project involved over 16,000 solar panels, which is equal to about 8 soccer fields! The energy provided from the solar-powered train provide half the energy needed from its station located in Antwerp, and it is the first train to generate green energy through rail infrastructure in Europe. Additionally, the solar powered railway produced enough electricity equivalent to power all of the trains coming in and out of Belgium over the course of a day. Its successes over the past four years have provided a benchmark for others to meet around the globe, highlighting the immense opportunity for solar growth in a fast-paced market.
Indian Railways (IR), the largest railroad company in India, has recently announced its plans to embark on a solar venture as well, joining Germany in its efforts of reducing light pollution and energy efficiency. In addition to several other initiatives involved in solar energy the company intends to implement in order to reduce their energy consumption, they have secured plans to build solar-powered coaches which will provide heating and cooling to cars interiors. And because (IR) is the third largest consumer of water in India, its reduction in energy and water consumption in order to do so should prove to be quite the sustainable feat. By switching to solar energy, it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, diesel consumption and meet the electricity needs required by each of their trains.
In London, Blackfriars and King’s Cross stations have implemented solar to make their train stations more energy efficient. In January of 2014, the Blackfriars London station revealed a total of 4,400 voltaic panels on their roof, spanning the entire length of the Thames, which provide 50% of the stations energy. Their solar panels were placed along their roof to generate up to 175,000 kWh of electricity each year. The panels achieved a reduction of carbon emissions per passenger up to 25%, and supplied the station with 10% of its overall energy. The numbers of these stations resulted in the reduction of England’s overall energy consumption and moved them up in the rank of the most energy efficient countries in the world.
Although railway transportation is not the primary mode of travel for those in the United States, the country has the largest network of railway transportation in the world, nearly twice that found in China. Americans travel 17.2 billion kilometers by railroad, which presents a potential market to harness the earth's power in the country’s major cities like Boston, New York and San Francisco. Examples of successful solar integration in railroad transportation can be found in Coney Island. Stillwell Avenue Subway Station is covered in 2,730 solar panels. They implemented solar panels on their roofs in 2013 and showcased the potential opportunity to utilize clean solar energy. With their new system, they were able to generate 10-15% of the terminal’s yearly energy usage.
The rising incentives for the country to harness efficient energy technologies highlight why solar power is the smarter option for the nation’s forward thinking cities. Already, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a goal to increase its sustainable energy by 7% before the end of 2015. Hopefully this means that there is a future opportunity to expand in the major metropolitan area on roofs, platforms, subway stations and bus shelters throughout the city.
Ember LED specializes in architectural and commercial grade solar powered and LED lighting and knows how to optimize energy efficiency. We create logical solutions for transit companies looking to join the green movement and save money by switching to renewable energy. Ember LED recognizes the capabilities for growth if the solar market expands into metro and transit systems.
Call us at 201.228.0880 for your next project.
Daily Mail India
The Hindu Business Line