California, U.S. is about to kickstart the nation’s ambitious project – fully-electric solar bullet train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco at a budget of $128 billion.
In our quest for sustainable and efficient transportation, innovative solutions continue to emerge, and one such groundbreaking concept is the advent of “solar bullet trains.” Combining the power of solar energy with the speed and convenience of high-speed rail, these trains represent a compelling vision for a greener future of transportation.
While plans of high-speed rail in California exist for over two decades, U.S. clears the way now, expecting to inaugurate an initial segment of the rail-route by 2030.
Solar-powered Bullet Train
California High-Speed Rail Authority is preparing to lay groundworks and power system for the country’s most ambitious and expensive project ever. The bullet train will be connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco that stretches for 422-miles (679km).
Projected for an environmentally friendly alternative to expanding highways or airport capacity, both major sources of carbon emissions, California initiates building the infrastructure for the solar-powered train with an initial $200 million utility-scale system from potential suppliers. It will include 552 acres of widely spread solar panels generating 44 megawatts of electricity – comparatively enough to power a city of 33,000 people.
It is also building batteries capable to store 62 megawatt hours of power. The electric-rails demand a robust system powerful enough to propel them at speeds of 220 miles per hour, initially at a 171-mile Central Valley segment in California.
California high-speed rail authority foresees to begin the work by 2026 for its operation planned in 2030. The project had received an initial funding of $35 billion, with total cost set up at $128 billion in the recent update, LAtimes reports. The remaining $70 billion+ has not yet been resolved out.
The bullet train’s utility-scale will also connect to the grid as a “behind the meter” system, which means it will draw power from the grid at times but also send surplus energy back.
U.S. welcomes another Solar-powered Train
Wes Edens, billionaire investor in United States, proposed a high-speed railway connecting Las Vegas to suburban L.A. called Brightline West. The $12 billion Brightline West is scheduled to open by 2028, and will also be solar-powered. However, Brightline West has planned to purchase power from operators of large desert solar fields, unlike California’s which generates its own.
“We basically have purchase agreements on RECs (renewable energy certificates) to buy renewable power. If you do that drive, because you can’t take a train right now, between Vegas and LA, there’s nothing with big solar farms out there,” Edens told Forbes.
First in World
While Australia, England had installed a solar-powered rail already and Germany is in trial-phase, the rails in their countries runs a shorter commute at normal speed. This makes U.S. as one of the first in world to deploy a 422 mile (679km) long-route of solar-powered bullet train.
Upon successful completion, the power system for the rail can cut electricity costs about 75% annually, saving about $14 million a year.
Do you think this $120+ Billion investment in solar bullet train could at once elevate the travel and economy? Drop your thoughts in comments..
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