Byron Bay Railroad Company set to operate Australia’s first solar powered train

Instead of being powered by electricity from traditional overhead powerlines this train is almost completely powered by energy from the sun, caught by state-of-the-art flexible solar panels along its roof. While it might seem like a futuristic concept this has now become reality.

In an Australian first, Clean Energy Corporation of Australia (CECA) is pushing the boundaries when it comes to what we can achieve with renewable energy and in partnership with Energus Pty Ltd, is proud to reveal an advanced solar design using cutting edge flexible solar panel technology which is taking solar power to places never imagined before.

Operated by the Byron Bay Railroad Company, the train primarily ferries around tourists for sightseeing and recreational activities in Northern NSW with the line itself being a vital conduit for access to the extended Byron Bay area and the North Byron Beach Resort.

The panels themselves are being installed on the roof of two carriages with the key element providing the bulk of the energy to the train being the 128 state-of-the-art eArche flexible solar panels provided by Energus.

Lightweight and durable, this new innovation is a game changer in the industry as it allows for the capture of solar energy in places and environments that were previously not possible as well as being relatively simple and cheap to install.

Project development director Jeremy Holmes explains:

“Energy from the train’s batteries will drive dual electric motors and be sufficient for a number of return trips between charges. Our calculations show that the combined solar panels and regenerative braking will generate the equivalent amount of power required daily to run the train service.”

While there are examples of other trains using solar panels, usually the power from these are utilised for ancillary purposes such as providing the lighting and air-conditioning but rarely ever for actually powering the train’s engines.

The project is due to be completed in May 2017.

  • 24 Apr, 2017
  • Kit Man Chan

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