|Trenitalia’s PV Train|
ANSA. Italy has unveiled Europe’s first solar-power-assisted train. The solar panels on the train’s roof do not drive it but provide energy for its air conditioning, illumination and safety systems.
The PVTRAIN project, partly funded by the EU, has been under development since 2003, and involves 10 prototype units: 5 carriages, 3 cargo wagons and 2 locomotives.
Environment Minister Altero Matteoli said the first ten prototypes would pave the way for “significant” developments in the future.
The panels on a rail car can deliver approximately 1.36 kW of peak power. In the development and testing from July 2003 to May 2005, the solar panel system generated a total of 1,017.41 kWh.
The CEO of Italian train company Trenitalia, Roberto Testore, said it was “looking with interest to the solar power sector, with a view to producing vehicles on an industrial scale.” Solar panels are already used to provide a portion of train power in Japan, and a miniature railway in Wales is wholly powered by solar energy.
Trenitalia PVTRAIN (in Italian)