London’s largest solar array at Blackfriars station reaches halfway point

Solarcentury has announced that the installation of London’s largest solar array is half way complete today as the 2,200th solar module was installed on the roof of Blackfriars station.

Network Rail has included the ambitious solar array as part of its redevelopment of the historic station, where it will be rebuilt on top Blackfriars rail bridge in order to provide more space for passengers and longer, more frequent trains.

It is estimated that 4,400 modules will be capable of generating half of the station’s energy requirements, some 900,000kWh of electricity per year, stopping the emission of over 500 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Network Rail Senior Programme Manager for Blackfriars, Paul Byrne, said: “We’ve rebuilt Blackfriars on a 125 year old rail bridge, creating a 21st century, solar-powered station on Victorian foundations. Blackfriars’ iconic location spanning the River Thames makes it a showcase for the potential of solar power, and an important benchmark for Network Rail as we look to make best use of sustainable technology on the rail network.

“Blackfriars will become fully operational for passengers this month, with two new entrances, four new platforms and a new London Underground station in use. We’ll complete work on the bridge, including the installation of solar panels, later in the year.”

Frans van den Heuvel CEO of Solarcentury said: “Blackfriars will be one of the World's great solar power installations.  Architecturally challenging, the project demonstrates just what is possible with this versatile technology in dense urban areas.  We’ve been working amongst one of the most complex build programmes in the country, at height, over water and live train lines.  It’s a great feeling to be half way there.”

Bakia Mbianyor, First Capital Connect’s Sustainability Manager, said: “In terms of CO2 emissions, rail travel is already the most sustainable form of mass transport with 0.1Kg of CO2 per passenger mile. The solar panels at Blackfriars will now allow us to reduce our carbon footprint still further, at one of our most important stations in central London.”

Blackfriars solar bridge forms part of a more ambitious upgrade to the Thameslink route that runs from Bedford to Brighton via central London.