Sun rising of a green sea

Green Tech Briefing: Solar Special

May 29, 2018 - 2min read

We’re back after a largely sunny bank holiday weekend with a special solar edition of our fortnightly Green Tech Briefing. Read on to find about all the innovation taking place in this area.

Full Steam Ahead

In India, Guwahati is set to become India’s first fully solar-powered railway station. For the 20,000 passengers who pass through every day, their electricity needs will be met by power generated from solar panels with a capacity of 700 kilowatts. Railways are the country’s largest consumer of electricity and diesel, and make up one fifth of India’s operational expenses. The move to solar for Guwahati will save Rs67.7 lakhs per year (approximately £75,000). All over India, train coaches are being equipped with rooftop solar panels as the rail network aims for 25% of their energy needs to be met by renewables by 2025. There is a solar-powered light at the end of this tunnel!

View From The Solar System

Thanks to images from two satellites – NASA/USGS Landsat 8 and ESA Sentinel-2 – we’ve been able to enjoy a new perspective on the exponential growth of solar power in China. Bloomberg New Energy Finance figures show that China added 53 gigawatts of Solar PV capacity in 2017 – a staggering 150% increase on the previous year. The Chinese government is stimulating the expansion of solar power by paying subsidies to developers of solar projects. China is fast becoming a key player for the sustainability sector on the world stage.

Tesla Powers On With World’s Largest Virtual Solar Power Plant

After a change of government in South Australia, the future of Tesla’s deal with the former Premier to create the ‘World’s Largest Virtual Power Plant’ was unsure. On May 24th the new Premier, Steven Marshall of the Liberal Party, confirmed he would honour the agreement and expand upon it by subsidising the instalment of home battery units for lower income families. South Australia is aspiring towards a grid of 90,000 solar-powered homes within the next few years; Tesla hopes that this experiment will be the first of a new type of energy infrastructure - the decentralised virtual power plant.


Do you have your World Cup Sticker Album ready? Has your office organised a sweepstake? Are you getting excited for summer nights spent watching the beautiful game? Well, some sustainable pioneers are so forward-looking, their sights are already firmly set on Qatar 2022. Dr. Azmy Gowaid of Glasgow Caledonian University has been creating pavements that gather energy from sunlight. The project is named PVTopia and has won an award from the Qatar 2022 organising committee. Tiles coated in epoxy resin lock together and create a solar pavement, the energy of which is fed into a nearby building.

Solar-Henge, Texas, USA

Artist Haroon Mirza has created a ‘Stone Circle’ inspired by Stonehenge and other druid creations and combined them with solar power technology (it’s an unconventional union, but we like it). Mirza has transported huge chunks of black marble from northern Mexico and equipped them with solar-powered LED lights and speakers. Mirza grew up in the UK, where he was first inspired by Neolithic monuments. Earlier this year he was the artist in residence at CERN (very unique job title). After spending a month absorbing solar energy, after sunset on the day of the full moon the stones perform a display of music and light. Stone Circle will stand in Marfa for 5 years.