The interior of the train tracks is a lost space. What if we install solar panels inside? It seems like an unlikely idea, but they are going to try it this summer.
In the world there are more than a million kilometers of railway. Imagine the electricity that could be generated if we filled them with solar panels… That’s what the company wants to do sub ways who has devised a curious system for install solar panels inside the train tracks.
if we want to complete the transition to renewable energy, it is necessary to install solar farms. But they have a problem: they are not very aesthetic. In the United States alone, the construction of 75 solar farms was rejected last year, because they broke the aesthetics of the landscape.
The solution is to place the solar panels in places that are not visible, but at the same time, where they receive maximum sunlight. For example in inside the train tracks.
Solar panels on the train tracks, genius or madness?
Place some delicate elements, such as the solar panels in a place as dangerous as the passage of a train, it does not seem like a good idea. But it is.
The inside of the tracks is hollow, and the only thing the train touches are the tracks themselves, with the wheels. So inside you can put solar panelswhich would capture sunlight all day, except for the few seconds when the train passes over them.
Another solved problem is the one of displaying these panels. Doing it by hand would be a huge job. But Sub-ways has come up with a very ingenious system. Panels deploy automatically, from a moving train. Once inside the track, it starts up automatically a system of suction cupsso that they are subject:
Solar panels connect directly to the electrical grid, to supply homes. But the idea of Sun-ways is that they can also feed the train itself.
If solar panels were installed on the entire railway network of Switzerlandsome 5,000 kilometers they would supply electricity to 750,000 homes. It is a very important amount.
At the moment this summer they are going to try with 50 meters of track. If it works well, they will extend the test. There are fringes to polish, for example, how they will clean the panels. But it is possible that another train with some kind of cleaning brush could clean them automatically.
Installing solar panels inside the train tracks is a very original idea. But if it works, it could solve the space and aesthetic problems associated with solar farms. These panels are not seen, and are always facing the sun.