Solar panels help power revamped King’s Cross station

Energy Matters0

Solar panels help power revamped King’s Cross station

SunDog Energy set to unveil innovative solar array, high above revamped King’s Cross station

  •, Wednesday 21 March 2012 16.20 GMT
  • Article history
  • Solar panel on the roof of King's Cross Train Shed

    Solar cells on the roof of the revamped King’s Cross Station. Photograph: avail/Andrea Vail on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

    An ambitious £1.3m project to fit a 240kW solar glazing system to the roof of King’s Cross station is nearing completion, BusinessGreen has learned.

    While the station’s new roof captured imaginations when it opened last week, the process of installing solar cells along two new barrel-vaulted glass roofs soaring high above the platforms and concourses is in many ways just as impressive.

    The solar PV cells are integrated into 1,392 glass laminate units that form part of the 2,300 square metre glass roofing structure.

    Meanwhile, progress installing the system has had to be synchronised with a huge rolling scaffold that slowly moves along the concourse as commuters pass by.

    A spokesman for Sundog Energy, which is providing the solar system, told BusinessGreen the installation was further slowed by stringent safety regulations designed to address the risks associated with working over a live line.

    The safety rules are so tight that items such as pens have to go up in a dedicated lift connected to the installation area in order to prevent them falling from a height above the station. “If you forget something, it’s an hour to go back and get it,” the spokesman said.

    However, despite the installation challenges, the system is due to be completed “by the summer”, when it should start to produce around 175,000 kWh of electricity per year, saving over 100 tonnes of CO2 annually.

    The system forms part of a major overhaul of King’s Cross station, including the restoration of the original 1851 facade of the building, the renovation of the ticket hall and the main train shed roof, and the creation of a new public square in front of the station.

    However, King’s Cross is still lagging behind Blackfriars when it comes to solar power. Blackfriars, which reopened earlier this year after extensive modernisation, boasts a 4,400-panel array running along the roof of a railway bridge spanning the Thames. The Blackfriars array is expected to generate around 900,000kWh of electricity a year, about half of the station’s demand, as well as reduce annual CO2 emissions by over 500 tonnes a year.

    Both projects are part of Network Rail’s wide-ranging green building programme, which aims to support the company’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 25 per cent per passenger kilometre by the end of the decade.

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