Electronics > Power/Renewable Energy/EV's

Now Solar Freakin' Railways!

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nctnico:

--- Quote from: Psi on December 27, 2021, 12:33:26 am ---
--- Quote from: nctnico on December 26, 2021, 08:48:36 pm ---
--- Quote from: Psi on December 26, 2021, 08:58:29 am ---Agreed, there's way to much dirt/dust/oil/rust-powder covering rail tracks and generated by their use.
The best place for solar panels is on a roof or in a solar farm.

--- End quote ---
Did you ever care to investigate how dirty a solar panel gets on a roof and how that affects efficiency?

--- End quote ---

There is no need to investigate, common sense says that a roof of a house will get orders of magnitude less dirt on the panels than between railway tracks.

--- End quote ---
You mean the good old underbelly engineering  :palm:  Use your underbelly for the only thing it is actually good at: tell you when it is time to eat. For everything else use real engineering methods (actual tests and a calculator). It is entirely possible that solar panels between the tracks remain cleaner due to the turbulence combined with rain around a train becoming a pressure washer. Nobody knows until it is tested; which is exactly what the people are going to do.

f4eru:

--- Quote from: nctnico on December 27, 2021, 01:00:37 am --- It is entirely possible that solar panels between the tracks remain cleaner due to the turbulence combined with rain around a train becoming a pressure washer.

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You just used your "belly engineering" to make a judgement before going to practice, and selecting two options from a range of many more. just sayin'  ::) ::)
It's an important part to make a judgement BEFORE wildly testing any crazy combination that you can eliminate by two calculations on a napkin, or by quick obvious judgement, logical thinking.

People like solar roadways or batterizer make the same mistake in the other direction, they focus on one unique narrow solution to a wider problem, never ever make a sanity check, and get stuck in a very bad local maximum.

f4eru:
Saying that, the important thing is also to consider all the parameters:
it's nice if a train would hypothetically "pressure wash" a panel (still, ballast is way dirtier between the tracks than outside, because of lubrication, rust etc...)
but rail is an extremely harsh environment.
- between rails, there is immense vibration at each train, that could destroy your connections between panels. Faulty train wheels happen and induce incredibly big shocks on the rail.
- wildlife will step on it, and crush the nice glass onto the ballast stone. That wildlife includes random drunk people, or hiker following/crossing the tracks.
- People will steal anything valuable on the track level, like good old copper wire between panels, general purpose solar panels, etc...
- ballast is a moving and settling stuff by design, and sharp edges will deform and crush panels from below.
- trains occasionally drop stuff. Bolts, forgotten tools, poop and lubricant, sand, trash, people.... This will break a few panels
- trains occasionally act like a car with an exhaust hanging onto the road : loose equipment will be mercilessly dragged on the ballast, and plow into every equipment there. Oh, a hanging chain just broke 200km of solar panel glass? Too bad. how many millions is that ?
- trees and overhead equipment shade the tracks

To avoid or eliminate all those problems, the panels have to go up as much as possible. Putting panels between the tracks is about as bad as putting them on a bike path: 2-6 months, and they're trash.
Roof, canopy or soundwall, or side bank is the way to go.
Open canopy mounting has the big advantage that 23kV and height is quite a deterrent to thieves and vandals.

Of course there is a fine equilibrium between the cost of support structure and the breakage level of equipment to make the most of the investment.
Washing panels is not really a consideration. If it is, you've done something very wrong.

ejeffrey:

--- Quote from: Psi on December 27, 2021, 12:33:26 am ---No one said "near", we were all talking about putting them between the tracks, like in the photo.

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The photo above the article is not actually what the article is about.  It is a photo from a different company that made a press release 3 years ago and never followed up on it.  In online journalism photos are usually selected by a photo editor based on the general subject.  They might be specific to the content of the article if that is available, but if not they will use a stock photo, an "artists conception" or really anything else.  This is standard practice and many or most online publications do this.

If they exist images within the body of the article are generally more tied to the specific content.

AlbertL:

--- Quote from: Psi on December 26, 2021, 08:58:29 am ---Agreed, there's way to much dirt/dust/oil/rust-powder covering rail tracks and generated by their use.
The best place for solar panels is on a roof or in a solar farm.

Maybe that will change if we get ~70% efficient panels that generate a kw and cost ~$10, but that's not going to happen for a while.

--- End quote ---

Yes, the low-hanging fruit in terms of solar siting is still the vast rooftop acreage of warehouses, distribution centers, big-box stores and similar facilities.  It's otherwise unused space, protected from damage, easy installation, with no negative environmental or aesthetic impacts. 

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