HANNOVER MESSE 2018, 23 - 27 April
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Integrated Energy

Swiss regional railway is testing solar plants

In a feasibility study, the Swiss Südostbahn AG (SOB) has tested the use of mobile lightweight photovoltaic systems on its railway cars.

13 Jan. 2018
Claudia Witte
Swiss regional railway is testing solar plants (Foto: SOB)

The Swiss lightweight construction specialist Swiss CMT AG , which previously worked mainly on projects abroad, is involved in the implementation . A preceding study that formed part of a scientific project at the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HRS) had investigated both the photovoltaic solution’s potential for savings and its ideal location. Sandwich solar panels on the train’s roof skirting resulted as optimal in the process. While a particularly sturdy design allows implementation of the lightweight construction photovoltaic elements in this area, the thus converted regional trains also benefit from better thermal insulation of their interior.

The experiment has already yielded the following findings: although every kilogram saved can increase the efficiency of the power supply solution, net energy production is still below the hoped-for levels. SOB is thus now examining the use of the lightweight construction elements on stationary surfaces such as platforms, hall roofs and noise barriers: well-aligned solar panels would allow five times the amount of energy to be generated. This could make the operation of such panels significantly more economical compared to mobile use on train roofs.

The Indian railway company Indian Railways has since mid-2017 been using solar modules on its trains , which, in combination with batteries, supply the power for the on-board electronics, thus replacing additional diesel generators . The primary goal is to reduce carbon dioxide and soot emissions . The trains themselves are nevertheless still pulled by a diesel locomotive.