Work began today (October 4) to install more than 4,400 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels as part of improvements works on Blackfriars station, which is due to reopen to passengers in December this year.

The Victorian bridge, built in 1886, forms the foundation for the new station, which is being upgraded by Network Rail to cope with increased customers and longer trains.

Under the improvements the bridge will have a new roof which will include more than 6,000m2 of PV panels.

According to Network Rail the solar panels will generate an estimated 900,000kWh of electricity every year, enough for 50% of the station’s energy and reducing CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes per year.

In addition to solar panels, other energy saving measures at the new station will include rain harvesting systems and sun pipes for natural lighting.

Network Rail’s project director for Blackfriars, Lindsay Vamplew, said: “We’re creating a spacious, modern station and delivering a vastly improved train service for passengers, while at the same time installing London’s largest solar array to make Blackfriars more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.

“The Victorian rail bridge at Blackfriars is part of our railway history. Constructed in the age of steam, we’re bringing it bang up to date with twenty first century solar technology to create an iconic station for the city.”

The company behind the solar engineering and installation is London-based Solarcentury, which worked with engineers Jacobs to incorporate solar PV into the station design. The high-efficiency solar modules used are manufactured by Sanyo.

Solarcentury chief executive, Derry Newman, said: “Blackfriars Bridge is an ideal location for solar; a new, iconic large roof space, right in the heart of London.

“Station buildings and bridges are fixed parts of our urban landscape and it is great to see that this one will be generating renewable energy every day into the future.”

Luke Walsh

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