London’s Blackfriars Tube station is on its way to becoming the world’s largest solar bridge. Stretching across South Bank a stone’s throw from the Tate Modern, the busy station, built by Solarcentury, has already reached the halfway point to completion. Inhabitat braved the Olympic madness to take a look at the solar bridge’s progress on a recent summer day.
Blackfriars tube station is still fully functioning, ferrying Londoners and tourists from the popular South Bank promenade to areas all over the city. Yet construction is still underway across the bridge’s rooftop. Heavy scaffolding is slowly being removed to reveal the 4,400 solar panels that will serve the station, pumping 900,000 kWh of solar energy back into the grid each year. The solar powerhouse will also reduce CO2 emissions by 511 tonnes per year, all while promptly serving commuters with uninterrupted service around the city.
The gorgeous Victorian bridge is the only bearing solar panels along the River Thames. With stellar city views, boats pass under the bridge’s arches throughout the day, while the station serves 24 trains per hour. Pedestrians strolling along the South Bank walk way pass under the historic bridge, check out the progress of its solar modernization.
The idyllic scene could be just a glimpse of London’s future. With over 100 bridges crossing the River Thames throughout the city, adding additional solar arrays on any of them could drastically reduce the city’s consumption of fossil fuels, and ensure a source of clean energy for generations to come, reducing emissions and overall carbon footprint.
Photos © Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat
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