Due to a partnership with Enfinity and rail operator Infrabel, a two mile stretch of the high-speed rail tunnel on the E19 Highway in Belgium will have a rooftop solar power installation. The project will produce energy for the trains and stations on the rail line that serves both conventional and high-speed trains between Amsterdam and Paris via Brussels. The US$20.1 million project will generate 3.3MWh of electricity per year.
The installation of 16,000 solar panels began this summer on the north side of the tunnel and is expected to reach completion by December 2010. Patrick Decuyper, CEO of Enfinity Europe, acknowledge the elaborate plans that went into the construction of the project, stating, “In the months to come, a large technical team will install more than 16,000 monocrystalline solar panels (245Wp per panel) on the roof with a special ballast tile structure, with no rooftop perforations required. During the installation we naturally take into account roof vibrations that may occur when trains rush through the tunnel.”