A new train station is being constructed in Blackfriars (London), which will settle upon a bridge arching across the River Thames. That in itself is a bonus for London’s transportation infrastructure, however the headline act is the revamp to the bridge itself. The plan is to fit 6,000 square metres of photovoltaic paneling to the Victorian bridge (circa 1886) and by completion in 2012 the bridge will power around 50% of the station’s energy at peak output.
By launching such an iconic construction, not only is the movement toward a lower carbon future in London given more strength, but the economic viability of renewable energy is ever more apparent. The annual carbon emission reduction is set to be in the region of 511 tonnes, which slots into the Network Rail’s plans to lower their carbon footprint by 25% running up to 2020:
Lindsay Vamplew, Network Rail’s project director for Blackfriars, said that the refurbishment will make the station a template for green stations around the world. “The Victorian rail bridge at Blackfriars is part of our railway history,” he said. “Constructed in the age of steam, we’re bringing it bang up to date with 21st century solar technology to create an iconic station for the city.” [source]
The company behind the development is Solarcentury, one of the fastest growing solar companies in the world, with the help of SANYO Electric Co. Ltd (of the Panasonic brand) who are manufacturing the high-efficiency solar modules. One glance at the artist’s impressions for the bridge indicate that Solarcentury’s product will be an attractive one, making the project even more exciting for Londoners.