Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is celebrating the generation of 7.2 million kWh of electricity from its 4440 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on Blackfriars Station, enough to power 228 UK homes per year, or to make nearly 30 million cups of tea.

The installation of the solar panels began in 2012 and were completed in 2014, during the construction of the station which enabled the longer Thameslink trains to run through the station, which includes a Victorian rail bridge. The panels are the largest solar away in any bridge in the world and produce enough energy to provide up to half of the station’s energy needs.

Jason Brooker MIEMA, Head of Environment at GTR, commented: “The development of Blackfriars station was a huge joint industry project. Now an iconic part of the London landscape, the priority was to create a station which would both serve the needs of passengers, whilst at the same time be a sustainable and efficient station that could be used as a benchmark for future projects.

“Every aspect of the build by Network Rail and its contractor Balfour Beatty was scrutinised to minimise the environmental impact. That included using barges to bring in 14,000 tonnes of building material in and take out 4,000 tonnes of waste, which kept 2,000 lorries off London's streets. Not only is Blackfriars now the only station in London to stretch over two postcodes, span the Thames, and have an entrance either side of the river – achievements in their own rights – but it is generating 900,000 kWh of energy every year, and contributing to the reduction of our carbon footprint. All this is part of our ongoing journey to better travel, and a greener railway. We cannot wait to see what the next 10 years brings.”

Rail Minister Wendy Morton, added: “Blackfriars station has become a key feature of the London landscape over the past 10 years. Not only is it an essential part of our railway network, but through the installation of solar panels across the whole roof generating half the station’s energy, it is exemplary of what can be achieved when creating new and redeveloping existing stations, and creating a greener transport network.”

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Tom Pashby

Digital Journalist, IEMA

Tom Pashby is a Digital Journalist at IEMA, Tom previously worked in the corporate communications team at EIT Climate-KIC, in the parliamentary office of Caroline Lucas MP, for a think tank called Policy Connect, and for the wind energy industry group RenewableUK. They also set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Role of the House of Lords, and an LGBTQIA+ campaign called Include Mx.