Massive Solar Tunnel Gives Trains a Boost (Video)

belgian solar tunnel photo

Image credit: SPS2900

The 2 gigantic solar farms just launched in France are part of a much wider push for large-scale solar and renewables going on in Europe right now. In fact, the same company responsible for these farms has today unveiled a huge 1MW solar tunnel that will protect trains from falling trees (reducing the need for tree felling), and provide power to one of Belgium's most important railway stations in the process.

The Guardian reports that the two-mile long Belgian solar rail tunnel was specifically built to protect trains from falling trees on a high-speed rail link that runs by an ancient forest. By building this structure, the need to fell trees was drastically reduced, and the project is reaping a double environmental dividend by installing over 16,000 solar panels on the roof of the tunnel. The project will provide 50% of the energy used to power Antwerp station.

The video above gives a sense of scale of the tunnel (and an appalling soundtrack!). Enfinity, the renewable energy company behind the project, was also due to build similar projects along train lines around London. But Bart Van Renterghem, UK head of the company, told the Guardian that these plans are currently on hold pending the Government's review of feed-in solar tariffs for large scale energy production.

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