Hi friends! Recently I was searching the web for solar power stories and was excited to find how many different ways solar power is taking the world by storm. We're talking solar power boats, office buildings, and a cool solar car prototype, but my favorite was an article from London's Guardian on the solar powered Blackfriars Bridge.
Completed in early 2014, the Blackfriars railway bridge in London, a multi-million collaborative effort between First Capital Connect and Solarcentury, is furnished with 4,400 solar panels. The rail station secures half its power from these roof-mounted panels, which are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 511 tonnes per year. My mind is blown by how much CO2 one rail station emits! Thank goodness for solar.
The Blackfriars Bridge is the largest of its kind in the world, even bigger than Australia's Kurilpa Bridge, and covers a total area of 6,000 square meters with an array of Panasonic 250 Watt peak panels. Its maximum output is estimated at 1.1-megawatt peak and it is expected to generate 900,000 Kilowatt-hours of electricity each year - over half the amount required to power the station. As a solar nerd, these kinds of numbers are really exciting. Solar nerds unite!
Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury said, "Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar. First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London's skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track over a river." Seeing how solar panels can be seamlessly integrated into a working rail station is a tribute to solar technology, and inspires me to continue to research and spread the word about solar energy.
The Blackfriars Bridge also acts as a major advertisement for London's efforts toward becoming a sustainable city, with tourists and workers viewing the panels as they enter the capital. I am impressed by the Brit's excitement toward becoming more sustainable (and by the fact people could actually eat the mushy peas that come with fish and chips.) London now has high efficiency trains, people choosing bikes over cars or taking the tube, rain harvesting systems, and restaurants advertising sustainably grown produce. With the addition of the prominent solar panel bridge, London is making significant progress toward achieving its sustainability goals.
In a world hooked on oil it's refreshing to see a city like London pursing clean energy like solar power. I hope to see more cities following this awesome example. Now, if you'll excuse me, this solar nerd is going back to scouring the Internet for more solar power stories!