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Solar-powered bridge unveiled at London Blackfriars Station

4,400 PV panels provide nearly 50 per cent of station's power.

Network Rail, First Capital Connect and Solarcentury surprised passengers arriving at Blackfriars station on Wednesday, 22 January, with a free cuppa drawn from Britain’s biggest tea cup to celebrate the launch of what the project partcipants are calling "the world’s largest solar bridge."

The array crowns the revamped Blackfriars station, which now boasts a new entrance on the south bank of the Thames, four new platforms and a redeveloped Underground station, offering longer trains and a better interchange between First Capital Connect and London Underground services. It sits at the heart of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme, transforming the route through central London to provide longer, more frequent services.

The PV panels on the roof of the bridge produce enough energy to make almost 80,000 cups of tea a day. More importantly, the power generated is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes per year – equivalent approximately to 89,000 car journeys, on average. The design and installation of the 6000m2 of PV panels was carried out by Solarcentury.

The installation at Blackfriars Station demonstrates how solar can be integrated into the architecture and into the most complex of engineering projects.
Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury

“Electric trains are already the greenest form of public transport – this roof gives our passengers an even more sustainable journey," said David Statham, managing director of First Capital Connect, which runs Blackfriars station. "The distinctive roof has also turned our station into an iconic landmark visible for miles along the River Thames.”

Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury, said the installation at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar: "First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects -- in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track over a river."

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity