Rail companies could cut their costs by millions of pounds a year by installing trackside solar panels to power electric trains, enabling them to cut fares for passengers, according to a report. Installing solar farms and batteries alongside lines also could provide the extra energy needed to power more carriages on busy routes that otherwise would require prohibitively expensive upgrades to electricity networks. The study, by Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab and 10:10, a climate change charity, found that it would be commercially viable to meet 10 per cent of the power required for traction on Britain’s electric railways by installing solar arrays without any subsidy. The report comes a day after it was announced that rail fares would increase by an average of 3.4 per cent, the biggest amount in five years, from January. Leo Murray, director of strategy by 10:10, said that electricity to power trains was a significant and rising expense for companies with electrified routes, at about 10 per cent of total running costs.
Times 6th Dec 2017 read more »