Solar Powered Bridge On The River Thames

The Blackfriars railway bridge has been converted into a giant solar power station. This is the largest solar bridge in the world and it is located on the River Thames in central London.

London solar bridge

Blackfriars solar railway bridge over the River Thames. Photo: Network Rail.

It took nearly five years to come to fruition but in January this year the solar bridge was opened. Commissioned by Network Rail, the project was developed and managed by the solar energy company Solarcentury. Over the past two years, the company installed 4,400 photovoltaic panels in stages to cover the roof of the Blackfriars station.

This is now London's longest array of solar panels, and it provides half the electricity needs of the Blackfriars station. Furthermore, it reduces the station's carbon dioxide emissions by 511 tonnes per year - since the station depends less on the electricity grid - as explained by First Capital Connect who runs Blackfriars.

In addition to the solar powered roof, the station was made more accessible and user friendly. A new entrance was made on the south bank of the Thames, which means the station is the first of its kind to have access from both sides of the river. Furthermore the station has four four new platforms and a redeveloped Underground station.

As explained by Solarcentury, the key to the success of this project was found in early planning and by ensuring that, from the beginning, the solar panels were integrated in the design stage of the station's overall upgrade.

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Last updated Friday, February 21, 2014