Switzerland Set To Roll Out Carpet-Like Solar Panels Between Railroad Tracks
By Dean Murray
Switzerland is set to roll out solar panels between railway tracks like a carpet.
In a world first, a special train has been developed that will place solar power elements between the rails.
Swiss company Sun-Ways says the removable solar power plants could produce up to 1TWh of solar electricity, or 30% of all current solar production in Switzerland.
They believe the project might be one solution to the energy crisis and soaring electricity prices.
The firm said: “The exploitation of the 7,000,000 m2 of surface available between the railway tracks in Switzerland offers an exceptional opportunity to accelerate the energy transition in our country; it is the equivalent of 350,000 house roofs equipped with solar panels.
“The patented technology of the Vaud-based start-up Sun-Ways contributes in a simple and quick way to the energy transition towards a massive production of clean and local electricity.
“This innovation aims to use the “unexploited” space between the two rails of a railroad track to mechanically place removable solar power plants, without disrupting rail traffic and allowing for essential maintenance work.”
Sun-Ways say they are currently awaiting the green light from the Swiss public transport regulation agency, but hope to begin a pilot project this Summer.
They added: “All experts agree that solar energy is the best solution to overcome all these crises. However, due to the lack of willingness of landowners or because of the shortage of qualified workers, this sector is only growing by 1% to 2% per year, which is incompatible with the objectives of the Confederation (2.8 TWh in 2021 and 17 TWh in 2030).
“This solution also offers other advantages: centralized decision-making at the level of the Confederation and the railroad companies, a mechanized installation process with little need for manpower, no visual or environmental impact, and an economically interesting cost per kWh produced, in the order of 10ct (LCOE).
Sun-Ways says their technology is “truly unique” in that all or part of the installation can be removed at any time to allow for maintenance work on the tracks, such as tamping, grooming or grinding; then the solar panels are put back in place.
Once the pilot project in Switzerland has been fulfilled, Sun-Ways aims for international development.
They also explained the project has “aroused the interest of major Swiss energy companies who see in this solution a simple and quick way to increase the production of electricity from renewable sources, locally, without impacting nature and the landscape, and in complete independence.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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