Solar train stations in Victoria save up to 30% on power | RenewEconomy

Solar train stations in Victoria save up to 30% on power

Five Victorian train stations built or upgraded for state government’s Regional Rail Link project use 100+ solar panels to provide power and hot water.


Five Victorian train stations have reduced their peak summer electricity use by as much as 30 per cent, through the installation of solar power and energy efficient lights and appliances.

The stations were built or upgraded as part of the state government’s Regional Rail Link project, using more than 100 solar panels to provide power and hot water, as well as LED lighting, energy efficient smart technology, sustainable building design, and a rainwater harvesting system for use in flushing toilets and washing platforms.

The upgraded West Footscray railway station

As a result of the changes, all five stations – including Footscray, West Footscray, Sunshine and new railway stations in Wyndham Vale and Tarneit – have become the first in Australia to receive 4 Star Green Star certification from the Green Building Council Australia.

The upgraded West Footscray station, for example, produces 40 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard station design, uses 60 per cent less water and in the middle of summer its maximum electrical demand is 30 per cent lower.

Other sustainability features include environment friendly air conditioning and ventilation systems, extensive natural light, sensors that automatically switch off or reduce the use of lighting and air-conditioning systems when they are not required, water efficient taps, urinals and toilets, and metering of water and electricity to track and manage consumption.

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  1. Pedro 6 years ago

    Is anyone working on solar panels along the train lines to supplement power to electric trains?

    • Paul Andrew 6 years ago

      that’s a pretty good idea actually. like the ‘solar freakin roadways’ thing but they wouldn’t need to be built really strong to be driven on, they could be placed between the tracks. there’s already solid sleepers to mount them too as well. would there be problems with arcing or electrical interference with an electric train going over them?

      • Pedro 6 years ago

        I was thinking of all that rail way line real estate, with the panels mounted above the power lines feeding the trains directly. I am sure there are heaps of power electronic hurdles to overcome. A side benefit would be some shading of the train an track which may help reduce thermal expansion of the railway during very hot weather.

        Not sure about arcing or electrical interference, but I would assume it would be significant, especially when a train is accelerating or breaking.

        • Bernadette George 4 years ago

          Morning Pedro, Andrew,

          Not sure if anyone’s still tuned into this discussion two years later but i have only come across this website now.

          Ahem, I am the designer (Innovation Patent holder) of a solar powered rail system that addresses all your concerns and points about the added advantage of a shaded track to reduce the risk and wear and tear, and vulnerability during summer, of the track due to thermal expansion.

          You might like to either google me, under solar powered rail, Bernadette George, or check my website for access to the paper i presented to the Engineers Australia conference 2012. You might also do a more broader google search to note Spain, China and Belgium have all been rather massively adding solar panels to the roof of train stations and even slightly extended sections of adjacent track line for quite some years now.

          Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing how out of touch Australia seems to be on this, from a governance perspective, given we are supposedly part of a global economy and it is so easy to do an internet search to update ourselves on latest technical advances. Then there’s the fact Australia is the great sunburnt country and yet we are so slow to make good use of all that sunshine, even on grey days in Melbourne, compared to other countries. Happily though, I do note private householders are way ahead of their councils, State and Federal Govts on this.

          • Pedro 4 years ago

            I am still, surprised it is still open. I have bookmarked your page to look at later. Always keen to get new idea’s and perspectives.

  2. Tod Mackay 6 years ago

    I’ve seen no evidence of solar panels at Footscray, West Footscray, Tottenham or Sunshine as part of the redevelopments. all four stations now have plenty of roof area to accommodate them.

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