Last year we reported how clean energy company Enfinity was working with Belgian rail infrastructure firm Infrabel to make rail travel even greener by installing 16,000 solar panels on the roof of a two-mile long rail tunnel connecting Paris to Amsterdam. This week, it was announced that construction is now complete.

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The tunnel was originally constructed to protect the region’s forests by diverting trains through the mountains, rather than felling ancient trees. But now it’s playing an even larger environmental role.

Over two miles, 16,000 solar panels are producing enough energy to power all the trains in Belgium for one day per year, in addition to powering up the Antwerp station; this is approximately 3.5Mw/hours of energy each year. The entire project is estimated to have cost $20.1 million.

“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,” said Bart Van Renterghem, UK head of Belgian renewable energy company Enfinity, which installed the panels.

“We had a couple of projects lined up around London with train operators and water utilities, but they have been put on hold.”

To see a video of the tunnel, click here.

+ Enfinity

via The Guardian