Switzerland installs solar panels on train tracks

In Switzerland, startup Sun-Ways has implemented an interesting initiative to harness the potential of thousands of kilometers of unused space between train tracks.

The lack of adequate space for the installation of solar panels is decreasing, especially in densely populated countries. Solar energy is often criticized when panels are installed in places where an environmental impact is generated or when deforestation occurs.

This is why the project is innovative, as solar panels began to be installed in the free spaces of the train tracks, generating renewable energy with the lowest environmental impact. This strategy seeks not only to generate clean electricity, but also to optimize the use of available resources for the benefit of the environment and sustainability.

Pilot project of solar panels on train tracks

Sun-Ways has started a pilot project where 60 solar panels will be installed near the city of Neuchâtel, an important technology center located close to the French border. These solar panels will be placed in the form of a mat through an automated process that facilitates their deployment, developed in partnership with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), to install and remove panels efficiently.

The panel design also considers the impact on rail maintenance and operation, such as reducing the need for routine rail thinning. Additionally, a cleaning system is incorporated under the trains to ensure optimal panel performance. This combination ensures efficient infrastructure and minimal inconvenience to the operation of the rail system.

It is true that dirty panels produce less and this problem also happens on the roofs of houses or in the desert.“, clarifies the company, founded by Joseph Scuderi in 2019. In the case of the panels located between the rails, to solve this problem, a cleaning brush is used, which is installed on the back of the train. As the car passes, this brush takes care of dusting and keeping the panels free of dirt. “This device ensures maximum panel performance at minimum cost.“, highlights.

Efficient technology for installing solar panels

According to Sun-Ways, a company specializing in solar energy, claims that a specially equipped train, designed by the Swiss railway company Scheuzer, is capable of installing one kilometer of photovoltaic panels in just a few hours. This innovative technology makes it possible to streamline the process of installing solar energy and increase efficiency in the generation of clean energy.

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From there, the energy generated will be used to power switches, signaling systems and meet other needs of the railway sector. Through the use of sensors, the network can be monitored in real time to ensure its optimal functioning. In addition, the panels will have anti-reflective coatings that will protect drivers from reflections that could affect their vision.

Solar panels are expected to become a game changer for transport in Switzerland, as up to 30% of the demand in this sector can be met by solar panels on the roads. An interesting alternative is to use the solar energy generated by the railway lines to supply the public electrical grid and, thus, supply energy to nearby residences and businesses.

company goals

The company Sun-Ways, located on the outskirts of Lausanne, intends to install several hundred kilometers of solar panels across the country by 2025. In addition, it plans to expand its application across the country by 2030. Europe has an extensive rail network that stretches over 260,000 kilometers.

Globally, the number exceeds one million, according to the company. These rail systems offer an opportunity to harness electricity sustainably, with minimal impact on the environment and landscape.

According to Sun-Way, around 50% of rail routes worldwide are suitable for using their system. Over the past five years, other companies such as Bankset Energy Sun Rails in Europe and Greenrail based in Milan, Italy have also launched similar concepts.

Greenrail launched its project in the Emilia Romagna region and stands out for using recycled materials, such as tires and plastic, in the construction of its solar sleepers. In addition, it integrates pressure-based piezoelectric technology into its diagnostic systems. This demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and the use of eco-friendly innovations.

With information from: https://www.sustainability-times.com/

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