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Deutsche Bahn has proven it: solar cells on the track offer the potential of 5 nuclear power plants

Deutsche Bahn has proven it: solar cells on the track offer the potential of 5 nuclear power plants


Filling the space between the rails with solar modules: this is the subject of a test carried out by Deutsche Bahn and the British company Bankset in Saxony. The potential is huge.

The space between the rails provides a good place for the PV modules. (Source: Bankset Energy)

  • In a partnership project, Deutsche Bahn is exploring the use of solar modules in the sleepers between the rails together with the British company Bankset Energy.
  • PV modules could help with Deutsche Bahn’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2040.
  • The tests take place at the DB test range on the Erzgebirge railway.

Solar cells can now be found even in unusual places. In curved shape in electric cars for instance. In form of awnings. There are sun window and cells in shape stickers.

As some years there is the idea of ​​installing solar panels between the train tracks. Until now, the technology has not been able to establish itself across the board, even if the space seems ideal. Rail lines are frequently maintained and free of trees and brush. But there are unanswered questions, such as the wear caused by the passage of trains.

Like various media, including the south german newspaper, report that Deutsche Bahn, together with Bankset Energy, is examining the gap between the rails for the use of large-scale solar systems. A railway spokeswoman told Netzwelt about the project:

Bankset Energy Group is currently testing solar modules on railway sleepers at the DB Proving Ground on the Erzgebirge Railway. In the field of testing, DB provides companies with tracks and systems to test innovative products. Companies, including Bankset Energy Group, can gain experience there under real conditions to see if their technologies work and produce the desired effects. The tests will initially be performed regardless of whether DB will use the technology itself in its route network.

Bahn spokesperson to Netzwelt

Sounds promising: That british companies calculates that 100 kilowatts of electricity could be generated per kilometer of railway. Extrapolated to the DB railway network, which is more than 60,000 kilometers long, it represents a power generation comparable to that of five nuclear power plants. Also interesting in this context: In the Baltic Sea, the the largest offshore wind power plant in the world with 370 turbines.

In an earlier version of the article it was written that 100 kilowatts of electricity could be generated for every 100 kilometers of railway track. We have changed this to 100 kilowatts per kilometer of rail. We apologize for this error. We’ve also added a quote from a railway spokeswoman to the article..

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