Blackfriars solar roof, via Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink’s renewable energy production could make more than 7.5 million cups of tea

As UK rail continues to champion decarbonised working methods and sustainable practises to meet the government’s targets of achieving net zero by 2050, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is leading the way with implementation of solar technology into its infrastructure.

The rail operator has developed a network of solar panels across Denmark Hill station, Streatham Hill Depot, and Blackfriars Station – a notable achievement as it housed the world’s largest solar-powered bridge, at the time of installation.

Streatham Hill Depot alone saw the installation of 526 solar panels in 2021, while Denmark Hill station boasts a new type of photovoltaic (PV) film that was fitted into the new roof, allowing it to produce an abundance of energy and put excess back into the electricity grid.

Denmark Hill is not the first station within the GTR network to have PV panels integrated into its roof, with Blackfriars Station producing 900,000 kWh energy last year through the use of the technology that was installed on the station’s roof when it was rebuilt by Network Rail as part of the Thameslink Programme in 2012.

Due to these upgrades, throughout 2022, Denmark Hill Station and Streatham Hill Depot, the PV arrays have generated 236,387 kWh of energy, saving 46 tonnes of C02 per year. Blackfriars alone has cut C02 emissions by 513 tonnes per year – equating to around 89,000 average car journeys.

Jason Brooker BSc (Hons) MSc MIEMA CEnv, Head of Environment at GTR, commented:

 “We all know that traveling by rail is a sustainable option. However, at GTR we want to ensure that our commitment to decarbonisation and sustainability is clear for our passengers to see.

“We already take measures such as ensuring all the electricity we use across our stations and depots comes from green energy tariffs using renewable energy assets, as well as looking at our efficiency – from the LED lights to the way we heat our offices.

“Creating our own energy, including through the incredible successful solar panel network, is the next logical step. We are incredibly pleased with the results to date – and hope this will be the beginning of more savings to come.”

Whilst rail travel is already known for being the most sustainable and greenest form of public transport available, the integration of solar technology from GTR highlights the commitments for continued growth in this area.

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