The world’s first 100% solar-powered train is now gliding down tracks in Byron Bay, Australia. The train’s lighting, traction power, control circuits, and air compressors are all battery-powered.
The Byron Bay Railroad Company refurbished a 3KM stretch of tracks and restored a heritage train, outfitting it with a 6.5 kW solar array with flexible solar panels.
The flexible solar panels lining the carriage roofs produce energy that is stored a 77 kWh battery system, which can also charge up between trips via a 30 kW solar array at the main station.
The battery bank has around the same capacity as a Tesla Model S and can make 12 to 15 runs off one charge as it only takes the solar train around 4 kWh for each leg of the trip.
The custom-designed curved solar panels on the roof of the train combined with the solar array on the storage shed roof generate sufficient energy to power the train.
In the case of prolonged lack of sunshine, the onboard batteries can be charged from the grid supply using 100% green energy from local community-based energy retailer Enova Energy. Like a bank, BBRC’s arrays of solar panels will deposit energy and then withdraw when required.
A regenerative braking system “recovers around 25 percent of the spent energy each time the brakes are applied.