THE president of Spanish national operator Renfe, Mr Isaías Táboas, has presented the board with a proposal to install solar panels at the company’s 14 major rolling stock depots in order to meet part of their energy needs.

Panels would be installed at 14 depots which together consume an average of 40,000 MWh a year. They include the Fuencarral, Santa Catalina, Cerro Negro and Villaverde depots in Madrid, the La Sagra facility for high-speed rolling stock near Toledo, as well depots in Valladolid, Málaga, Barcelona Can Tunis, El Berrón, Salamanca, Balmaseda, Miranda de Ebro, Zaragoza and Buñol.

The project would cost €12m and supply 41% of energy needs at these depots. This would save Renfe €3.8m a year, enabling the cost of the project to be fully recovered within 3.1 years, while reducing energy consumption from the grid and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainability is one of the key themes of Renfe’s strategic plan, and 100% of the electricity it uses for traction is provided from renewable sources.

Renfe says that it produces €305m of social benefits a year by slowing climate change, cutting pollution and reducing accidents. Rail operation avoids the emission of 5.7 million tonnes of CO2 every year, and the need to burn 1.1 million tonnes of fuel.