London Rail Link to be Powered by Solar Energy by 2022

London underground

Solar power will be used for a project on a major railway line into London from early 2022, the company that is working on this project started recently. The project is a partnership with Network Rail, which develops and operates Britain’s railway infrastructure, and will contribute to Britain’s aim for net-zero emissions in three decades.

Greentech start-up Riding Sunbeams stated it would use a government grant to the tune of 2.5-million pounds ($3.34-million) to build a community-owned solar farm. The initiative will help power trains on the line that links the capital with the southern seaside town of Eastbourne.

Executive Director Ollie Pendered stated that it was a fantastic opportunity to show the UK rail sector that commercial innovation could help power towards the zero-carbon future.

Furthermore, Network Rail, the country’s biggest single electricity user, can leverage renewable energy and reduce carbon footprint via the collaboration to use solar panels to power trains. Renewable energy is already used to power several of the country’s railways. Network Rail estimates that solar could cater to 10% of the energy needed to run its trains, especially on tracks in southeast England.

According to Riding Sunbeams, a joint project between climate charity Possible and campaign group Community Energy South, once the 3.75-megawatt (MW) Cuckmere solar farm is complete, ownership will be given to the local community and commuters. Leo Murray, the director of Riding Sunbeams had reiterated earlier that the railways would be able to cut their running costs and benefit local communities while playing a part in tackling the climate crisis.

Eyes are on the piloted scheme on tracks in Aldershot in southern England, which will be the world’s first solar-powered railway. Moreover, the operating company stated, in October, Britain’s HS1 railway link between London and the Channel Tunnel became the country’s first train line to run entirely on renewable energy (with solar and wind powering trains on the route).

Riding Sunbeams stated it was working with Welsh train-operating company Transport for Wales and the capital’s Transport for London. The start-up hoped to replicate its business model throughout the country in partnership with Network Rail.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently laid out a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. He reiterated that it would create up to a quarter of a million jobs through measures such as expanding offshore wind power. The plan also comprised a ban on sales of combustion engine cars by 2030 and support for nuclear power and hydrogen.

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