Solar technology ‘On Track’

Solar technology ‘On Track’

News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Sun-ways, a Swiss start-up, is developing a technology, a train, that can place solar cells in between rail tracks

From the Fast Company report:

Sun-ways is putting this idea to the test during a $560,000 pilot project in Western Switzerland. The pilot, which is slated for this summer, will trial a version of the mechanism using a regular train that’s been retrofitted for the occasion. Running on a 140-foot stretch near the city of Neuchatel, the train will install about 60 solar panels, turning the gap between train tracks into a reflective black ribbon.

For now, 100% of the electricity generated by the solar panels will go straight to the grid to power nearby households. But eventually, the team is planning to use some of that electricity to power the very trains that run above the panels. According to Danichert, 5,000 kilometers of “solar rails” (which is the current length of the entire Swiss railroad network) can generate 1 gigawatt of energy per year, or enough energy to power about 750,000 homes. Considering there are over 1 million kilometers of railway tracks worldwide, the potential could be huge, even if the system can’t be installed on every one of those tracks. But most importantly, it wouldn’t take up any space from farmland or forests, and it wouldn’t ruin any landscapes.

and it looks like this:

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