Solar-powered homes, solar-powered cars, why not solar powered trains? Power harnessed from the sun is taking over the world; it seems! It’s becoming commonplace, which is excellent for our planet. Clean, green, sustainable energy is the healthiest way to go for the earth.
Solar-powered cars are not easily powered by the sun. They drive in and out of shadows and in erratic patterns, long distances, short distances; they are all over the map, so to speak. They also have very little space that can be utilized for solar panels, so they are not able to receive enough juice to power them. =
On the other hand, trains travel the same route and have much more space for solar panels, especially if they have sleeper cars. Because they are on the same route, they can pick up power from each stop along the way. Nearby solar panels electrically charge each solar station.
In London, they added a 3rd rail that feeds power to the train because it is not cost-effective to build lines above all the bridges along the lines. It is just a test run because the trains are not meant to run on only 37 kilowatts, but it is a possibility.
Riding Sunbeams in London
In London, Riding Sunbeams, a not-for-profit company of climate activists, is testing out a solar-powered train. Does it run solely on the sun? No. The sun only powers about 10% of the train, but it still cuts down on dirty diesel fuel. The London project is just a test run to see if the concept is even possible. Once they work out all the bugs, they will test it on a grander scale elsewhere. It used to draw electricity from the national grid, which is in part solar-powered as well, but now the train pulls power from 100 solar panels and completely bypasses the grid.
Solar Trains in India
Trains run on solar power in India as well as London, but, although India more sun, trains in India are still not wholly solar-powered. They employ solar panels on the roof of the train to power the lights and fans inside, so it at least cuts down on the amount of electricity used.
India also hosts a sun-powered station in the city of Guwahati. It is the first of 8,500 fully solar-powered stations set to be built by the government in the coming years. The station sees about 20,000 passengers each day.
Fully Solar Train in Australia
In Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, the world’s first fully solar-powered train pulled out of the station for its first ride in December of 2017. The Byron Bay Railroad Company took a vintage train, refurbished it, and loaded it up with solar panels, proving there could be entirely clean and green transportation. Batteries and an electric motor replaced one of the two diesel engines. They kept the other engine in case of an emergency.
The train running solely by the sun does a full loop in one hour and can seat 100 passengers plus standing room. The solar panels along the route charge it as it goes along. Although it is a short ride, it makes a significant impact, spreading awareness of clean energy and reducing traffic.
Sol-up Solar Las Vegas
Although Sol-up in Las Vegas has not (yet) made a solar-powered train, they do have solar systems for your home. Their wide range of products includes a solar system with solar panels and a battery to store your solar so you can have power in the case of a power outage. Contact us today to help you design a solar array for your home to take advantage of the Las Vegas sun to lower your heating and cooling bills.