Two-Mile Solar Tunnel Powers Rail Between Paris and Amsterdam Two-Mile Solar Tunnel Powers Rail Between Paris and Amsterdam
Social Innovation

Two-Mile Solar Tunnel Powers Rail Between Paris and Amsterdam

by Ben Jervey

June 8, 2011

This 16,000-panel solar array was built by Enfinity on the Paris to Amsterdam line, with the panels placed on top of a tunnel that was already necessary in the high-speed line's construction. Bart Van Renterghem of Enfinity explains:

For train operators, it is the perfect way to cut their carbon footprints because you can use spaces that have no other economic value and the projects can be delivered within a year because they don't attract the protests that wind power does.

While this two-mile stretch of solar panels won't power the whole line of trains, its enough to power half of the big Antwerp station nearby. That's not inconsquential. And if there were tunnels located intermittently along the tracks, its not crazy to consider the potential of running a whole high-speed rail line off the sun's rays.

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
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Two-Mile Solar Tunnel Powers Rail Between Paris and Amsterdam