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Swiss start-up to roll out Solar Panels on Railway Tracks

Swiss start-up Sun-Ways is set to install solar panels on railway tracks near Buttes train station in Switzerland. Pending approval from the Federal Office of Transport, Sun-Ways will use a train developed by Swiss track maintenance company Scheuchzer to unfurl photovoltaic panels along the railway lines. The panels will be pre-assembled at a Swiss factory and clamped onto the tracks using a piston mechanism. Once the panels are in place, they will be fed into the power grid to power homes, as feeding it into railway operations would be a more complicated process.

Sun-Ways has patented a removable system that is a crucial innovation since railway tracks need to be cleared for essential maintenance work. The company has big ambitions for its eco-innovation and believes panels could be rolled out across Switzerland’s 5,317 km-long railway network.

The International Union of Railways has expressed concern that the panels could suffer micro-cracks, lead to a higher risk of fires in green areas and distract train drivers with reflections. Built-in sensors also ensure they work correctly, while brushes attached to the end of trains could remove dirt from the surface of the panels. The company is also working on a system to melt frozen precipitation, which could otherwise stop the horizontal panels from being useful.



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