The city of Antwerp is going to open Europe’s first solar-powered railway tunnel built on the line between Paris and Amsterdam. The 2.1 miles-long tunnel will get its clean energy from 50,000 solar panels installed on top of it. The electricity will be used to power the 186 mph trains as they pass underneath, as well as the additional infrastructure.
Built by a Belgian solar power company, the solar panels costs the country’s government around $20.1 million. They will cover a total space equal to 8 football pitches. The trains aren’t the only thing powered by the panels because they will provide enough electricity for Antwerp homes.
These railway solar panels are estimated to produce 3,300 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power about 950 families. According to some reports, the area’s carbon footprint will be reduced significantly.
This is not the only project of its kind, because in the United States the government has launched a campaign for a “sun-powered bullet train” traveling at 200mph between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. For example, Italy has equipped a train with rooftop solar panels able to generate enough energy for the air conditioning system.