London’s super-solar Blackfriars Station is halfway to becoming home to the world’s largest solar bridge. Solarcentury began construction on the ambitious project last fall, fitting the bridge with a solar array that will supply a whopping 900,000kWh of clean electricity per year, provide more than fifty percent of its power need to operate the transit hub, while reducing CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes for the same time period!
The arched and latticed historic bridge is home to the Blackfriars Tube station, which will have its platform lengthened to accommodate the photovoltaic array. To keep traffic congestion to a minimum, the materials for the extension will be moved by barge instead of truck. Solarcentury has been busy installing 4,400 solar panels across the roof of the bridge, glittering like scales from one shore to the other.
Over 100 bridges cross the River Thames, but Blackfriars will be the first with solar bragging rights, while its tracks buzz with 24 trains per hour. The station will also save energy in other ways; sun pipes will illuminate the station with sunlight, and rain collection systems will filter stormwater pollution. Solarcentury is also working with the Thameslink Program, which manages the station’s redevelopment, to help reduce pollution and congestion from public transportation, while working to provide an easier commute for those in deprived areas.