Smart Transport

Riding Sunbeams awarded £2.5m for solar rail project

Riding Sunbeams, the solar rail company, has been awarded a £2.5 million grant to build and connect a solar powered  energy plant that will directly power rail in East Sussex.

The grant is part of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SELEP) £85m share of the Government’s new Getting Building Fund.

The 3.75 Megawatt Cuckmere Community Solar Farm located in Berwick, north of the Eastbourne, will power the London mainline railway thanks to a ‘private-wire’ direct connection. 

The solar farm is expected to be supplying power to the local railway network by March 2022.

After completion, Cuckmere Community Solar will launch an investment offer so that the project can be owned by local community members and rail commuters who use the network.

Ollie Pendered, Executive Director, Riding Sunbeams, said: “Our vision is to power trains with commercially priced and unsubsidised renewable energy with a positive social impact.

“This award from the Getting Building Fund is a huge win for Riding Sunbeams, Cuckmere Community Solar and Network Rail.

“It will enable us to work together to prove that MW-scale solar can be directly connected to the railways and open up the market for region-wide solar connections.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to show the UK rail sector that commercial innovation can help power us all to the Zero Carbon future we need.”

Network Rail is the single biggest user of electricity in the UK.

Riding Sunbeams is also working with other UK customers including Transport for Wales and Transport for London to deliver a similar model.

It said: “The commercial success of the East Sussex project will provide a model through Network Rail that can be replicated throughout the country.”

 Transport Minister Rachel Maclean

Virtual Smart Transport Conference 2020 presentations available to view now

After three packed days of content the first Virtual Smart Transport Conference has come to a close, but delegates can now gain free access to rewatch all the presentations during the show.

How to watch the presentations

Videos can be accessed by heading to the Agenda & Live Stream section of the Virtual Smart Transport Conference event website and choosing sessions to watch from across the three days.

The event featured thought leadership presentations from over 45 key stakeholders from the public and private sector, with opening statements from transport minister Rachel Maclean (pictured) and Mayor for Greater Manchester Combined Authority Andy Burnham.

Watch now

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