solar2.jpgThe 3.4km shelter was constructed when the line was
built to avoid felling trees in the ancient wood that separates the
town from the E19 highway. The roof has a surface area of 50,000m2,
roughly equivalent to the size of eight soccer pitches, and is now
equipped with more than 16,000 monocrystaline solar panels.

These panels generate around 3300MWh of electricity per year,
equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 950 households, or the
traction current consumed by the entire Belgian railway network in one
day. Infrabel will use the electricity to supply trains in the Antwerp
area, powering both high-speed and conventional trains. The
installation will save more than 47.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions
over a period of 20 years.

A joint company, SPS Fin, was established by Infrabel and Enfity to deliver the Euros 15.7m project.

Several of Europe's infrastructure managers have identified railway
structures as prime sites for solar power. Network Rail is planning the
largest single solar installation in Britain with 4400 panels on the
roof of the new Blackfriars station in London, which is due to be
completed next year. Last month Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail
switched on an installation on the roof of Utrecht Central station. By
the middle of next year, two more spans of the station roof will also
be equipped with solar panels, which will generate a total of 85MW per