Deutsche Bahn: Solar cells between the railway tracks can generate as much electricity as five nuclear power plants

In Germany, a trial is being launched with solar panels on the sleepers between the tracks. DB and the British company Bankset Energy, which is responsible for the project, call the potential enormous.

Deutsche Bahn's railway network is 60,000 kilometres long, and the idea is to place solar panels in the spaces between the tracks, which would then generate solar energy. Using patented technology, solar panels made of silicone and aluminium are designed to be clamped over existing railway sleepers.

The Bankset Energy Group is currently testing solar panels on sleepers at the DB test field in the Ore Mountains. On the test field, DB provides companies with tracks and systems for testing innovative products. The companies, including Bankset Energy Group, can gain experience there under realistic conditions to see whether their technologies work and produce the desired effects. The tests will initially take place regardless of whether DB itself will use the technology in its route network.

According to Deutsche Bahn, 100 kilowatts of electricity can be generated on every kilometre of track. Calculated over the previously mentioned total of 60,000 kilometres, this would roughly correspond to the output of five nuclear power plants.

Deutsche Bahn wants to become climate neutral by 2040, ten years earlier than originally planned. In 2038, all rail traffic must run on green electricity.