World’s largest solar powered bridge, at London Blackfriars station, makes Britain’s biggest brew

Blackfriars solar bridge

Network Rail, First Capital Connect and Solarcentury surprised passengers arriving at Blackfriars station this morning with a free cuppa drawn from Britain’s biggest tea cup to celebrate the launch of the world’s largest solar bridge.

The 4,400 photovoltaic panels cover the roof of the station and produce enough energy to make almost 80,000 cups of tea a day. In fact, London’s longest array provides up to half of the station’s energy, reducing its CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes per year – equivalent approximately to 89,000 (average) car journeys.

The array crowns the revamped Blackfriars station, which now boasts a new entrance on the south bank of the Thames, four new platforms and a redeveloped Underground station, offering longer trains and a better interchange between First Capital Connect and London Underground services. It sits at the heart of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme, transforming the route through central London to provide longer, more frequent services.

Simon Kirby, managing director of Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, said: “The dramatic transformation of Blackfriars station from a small and cramped station to a modern landmark is typical of how we are enhancing one of Europe’s busiest rail routes – using smart, sustainable technology to reduce the cost of running the railway at the same time as giving passengers the longer, more frequent trains that are so desperately needed.”
David Statham, Managing Director of First Capital Connect which runs Blackfriars station, said: “Electric trains are already the greenest form of public transport – this roof gives our passengers an even more sustainable journey. The distinctive roof has also turned our station into an iconic landmark visible for miles along the River Thames.”

The design and installation of the 6000m2 of PV panels was carried out by Solarcentury. Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury, said: “Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar. First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track over a river. We are confident that future major infrastructure projects can and will benefit from solar.”

Notes to editors

Britain’s biggest cup of tea measures 3.1m tall with a diameter of 2.1m.

Solar bridge

The system is the largest array on a bridge in the world, and provides up to 50% of the stations energy.

  • System size: 1.1 MWp
  • No of panels: 4,400
  • Area of Solar PV system: 6000 m2
  • Annual generation: 900,000 kWh
  • Annual CO2 savings: 513,000 kg

Please note these are estimations only, correct at time of installation
We have produced a great infographic, visit to see.

Watch the promo video: