German Railways DB (Deutsche Bahn) and British energy company Bankset are testing the use of photovoltaic systems on railway tracks in Saxony.
For testing, solar panels are attached to the sleepers between the rails in a test section. According to Bankset, this construction could generate an average of 0,1 megawatts of electricity per kilometer. Considering the entire length of the German route network of 33.000 kilometers (approximately 60.000 kilometers), electricity generation is ideally comparable to that of five nuclear power plants.
According to Deutsche Bahn, it is not yet clear whether such electricity generation will actually be implemented. On behalf of the Federal Railroad Authority, TÜV Rheinland is exploring how solar technology can be used in rail systems. In addition to the tracks, the roofs of train stations or noise protection walls along railway lines also offer a lot of potential space for the installation of solar panel sleepers photovoltaic systems!