TEHRAN UIC RAME: The world’s first ever railway line to be directly supplied with solar power has launched today.
The scheme in Aldershot city sees signalling and lights being powered by a unit made up of around 100 solar panels, which is also supplying a small amount of energy to the track itself.
It’s hoped this will pave the way for the world’s first fully solar-powered trains, able to completely bypass the national grid and get a direct supply of energy for UK railways’ traction systems from solar “farms”.
Dubbed “Riding Sunbeams”, the pilot project has been launched by climate change charity 10:10, Community Energy South and Network Rail, with all data being analysed by the University of Birmingham to see how it might be possible to plug in much larger solar rigs to power the UK’s trains.
Communities living near railway lines and the passengers themselves will eventually have the chance to invest in the idea: by the end of 2020, the aim is to build and connect the world’s first ever full-scale community and commuter-owned “solar traction farm”.