Swiss startup makes first attempt to deploy solar on railways


From pv magazine Global

Swiss startup Sun-Ways is currently developing PV systems that can be placed between railroad tracks. It is working on a project that is scheduled to go online in May 2023. It consists of a mechanically detachable PV plant that will occupy a track section owned by Swiss railway operator Transports Publics Neuchâtelois SA.

The company developed the mechanical concept in cooperation with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss innovation agency Innosuisse. It said the PV system can be pre-assembled in a factory and then loaded onto a special train. The solar modules are then rolled out like a carpet between the tracks. The PV system can also be removed at any time to enable maintenance work.

If the solution works, the potential in Switzerland alone is enormous, the company said, noting that the country has a railway network spanning almost 7,000 kilometers. Up to 1 TWh of solar power could be generated in this way, it claimed.

Sun-Ways is also looking beyond its home market. It noted that there is a rail network of around 260,000 kilometers across Europe and about 1.16 million kilometers throughout the world. It said it has already made contact with unspecified investors in Europe and the United States about offering its solution on an industrial scale.

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