Bridging the energy gap at Blackfriars

The first of 4,400 solar panels will be mounted on Blackfriars Bridge across the Thames today, as construction begins on central London's largest energy generator. The giant photovoltaic solar array will in effect form a roof over the bridge and will supply energy to the new Blackfriars railway station, which is being built at its north end.

The bridge will generate 900,000kWh of electricity every year, half of the amount the station is expected to consume or enough to supply 350 UK households. The bulk of the electricity generated is expected to go towards heating and air-conditioning the station, with lighting and escalators consuming much of the rest.