Public transportation systems throughout the world are starting to make the jump from traditional fossil fuel engines to electric alternatives. China’s Shenzhen city has already converted its entire public bus fleet to EVs, and now, a UK train line is going the same route.
According to a new report from The Guardian, a rail line near Aldershot in Hampshire, England is now powered entirely by the sun, courtesy of a nearby solar farm. The farm contains 100 solar panels, which will provide power to the rail itself as well as its “signalling and lights.” Apparently, this is the first time ever that a train rail has been completely powered by a solar farm.
To be clear, this is still a relatively small installation. 100 solar panels may sound like a lot, but when you consider how much power the UK’s entire train system needs, it’s a mere drop in the bucket. Regardless, this is a pretty big achievement for the UK, and it could pave the way for similar solar-powered rail lines to be installed throughout the country and perhaps even overseas if the idea catches on.
Indeed, it sounds like the former is the long-term plan for the organization behind this installation, Riding Sunbeams. By 2020, The Guardian says Riding Sunbeams hopes to build and connect the “world’s first-ever full-scale community-and-commuter-owned solar farm” to UK railways — that’s quite an ambitious project, and we look forward to seeing whether or not the group can pull it off.