Belgium - 2011
Status: Existing
Stakeholders: Infrabel, Enfinity, Solar Power Systems, municipalities of Brasschaat and Schoten, FINEA, IKA
Dimension: 50.000 m2

A two-mile-long Belgian rail tunnel has now had 16,000 solar panels installed on the roof. The project, known as the Solar Tunnel, is the first of its kind in Europe as it is the first time railway infrastructure has been used to generate green energy. The installation on the roof of the high-speed line (Antwerp - Amsterdam) rail tunnel in Antwerp covers a total surface area of 50,000 m². The solar energy is used to power the railway infrastructure (signalling, lighting, heating of railway stations etc.,) and also the trains using the Belgian rail network. 
The installation should generate an estimated 3.3 MWh of electricity per year, equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of nearly 1,000 homes. Looking ahead, 4,000 trains per year - equivalent to one full day of rail traffic - will be able to run entirely on solar energy.