Swiss Solar Railway Project Hits Obstacles

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Swiss Solar Railway Project Hits Obstacles

Posted by: Baris Karapinar
Category: ESG News

Switzerland’s vision of a solar-powered railway has encountered hurdles as the Swiss transport ministry halts plans by startup Sun-Ways to carpet railway tracks with solar panels. The ambitious CHF400,000 ($458,000) proposal aimed to generate alternative energy by installing solar modules on a 100-meter track section near Buttes in Val-de-Travers.

However, the transport ministry expressed concerns about the project’s maintenance challenges and potential risks of train delays. The panels’ placement between the tracks raised issues, as train operations would have to halt during repairs, and debris from passing trains could damage the panels.

The rejection of the Sun-Ways project underscores the complexities of Switzerland’s renewable energy transition. Despite a target of achieving zero net emissions by 2050, realizing photovoltaic projects poses difficulties.

Switzerland’s extensive rail network presents vast solar energy potential, with theoretical installations along the 5,317-kilometer track generating an estimated 1 Terawatt-hour (TWh) of solar energy annually, enough to cover about 2% of the nation’s electricity consumption.

As Switzerland seeks sustainable energy solutions, challenges persist in finding the balance between innovation and practicality. Though the solar railway project faces setbacks, Switzerland’s commitment to renewables remains firm in the pursuit of ambitious climate goals.

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