Solar Bridge Being Built Across the River Thames

October 10, 2011

Showing that anything can be retrofitted for environmental efficiency, an old Victorian-era bridge across the River Thames in England is getting the addition of over 4,400 solar PV panels. Construction has already begun on the new roof, which will have over 6,500 square feet of solar PV panels, generating about 9,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, making it the largest solar array in London.

Blackfriars bridge, which was built in 1886, will be the foundation for a new railroad station, for which the solar panels will supply half of the energy. The station will also have rain harvesting systems and sun pipes to provide natural lighting. Renewable energy is planned to account for half of the station’s energy needs and help reduce CO2 emissions by more than 500 tons, which is the equivalent of 35 American households.

London-based solar firm SolarCentury is heading the construction using SANYO Electric solar modules. The retrofits are part of Network Rails £5.5 billion thameslink program, which aims to improve the interchange between the national rail and the London Underground. The solar panels were funded through the Department for Transports safety and environment fund.