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Solar Power Bridge – a World First

A £7million investment has just been made to create the World’s largest solar panel covered bridge; a lot of money! It will generate enough electricity to provide power to 300 houses each year, due to its 100 solar panel “leaves” that’ll form a roof over the brand new Blackfriars station currently being constructed on top of a Victorian bridge over the River Thames. In total, the installation will have 4,400 solar panels, and may well start a range of similar projects on station roofs. David Wilson, from Network Rail, said “If it’s successful you will see a lot more solar panels on stations in the future.”


It’s an exciting development not just from an architectural perspective, but also from the impact it could have towards the environment; in total, there are 2,656 stations in the UK, so if all had similar size installations, that’d be enough electricity for approximately 750,000 homes, although at a cost of £18.5bn – rather a lot more money than is probably available for investment, although this doesn’t take into account the economies of scale that could occur with such a large project.

The project is being installed by Solarcentury. Derry Newman, chief executive, said “It’s absolutely unique. You’ve got a 19th century bridge with a 21st century roof. It will start to inform people’s opinion that this is part of what the future is and a normal part of where you get electricity.”

There already exists a similar structure in Brisbane – there they have the world’s biggest footbridge with solar power. It was completed two years ago, and has a striking structure looking like a collection of very large needles. In Belgium, solar panels were installed a few months ago on top of a train tunnel between Paris and Antwerp.


These are certainly some of the most beautiful solar installations around. I'll do a round up in a future edition of the coolest solar structures out there.