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06 Jun 2011: Two-Mile ‘Solar Tunnel’
Built on Belgian High-Speed Rail Line

A European high-speed rail network has begun generating electricity from 16,000 solar panels installed atop a two-mile rail tunnel on the line running from Paris to Amsterdam. The panels, built by the Belgian renewable energy company Enfinity, will provide about 50 percent of the power needed for a nearby station in Antwerp and will also produce electricity equivalent to that needed to power all the trains in Belgium for one day per year. The tunnel was originally built to protect the high-speed rail line from trees falling from an adjacent old-growth forest. “For train operators, it is the perfect way to cut their carbon footprints because you can use spaces that have no other economic value and the projects can be delivered within a year because they don’t attract the protests that wind power does,” Bart Van Renterghem of Enfinity told the Guardian.
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