Metro Tunnel’s Arden Station powers ahead with new solar panel system

Metro Tunnel’s Arden Station powers ahead with new solar panel system

Arden Station is sporting some new bling after crews installed 125kW of solar panels on the roof of the station entrance – enough to power about 50 homes.   

Made up of 392 glistening panels, the impressive system will generate about 140KWh of electricity annually, helping to power the station and reduce carbon emissions by around 188 tonnes per year.   

Arden Station is the only Metro Tunnel station with a renewable energy source, as it’s the only station with a big enough roof space, according to Metro Tunnel Project sustainability coordinator Alex Steinmeyer.

“Most of the Metro Tunnel Project is underground, so having the roof space available on top of the station entrance at Arden provides us a great opportunity to establish this solar system,” Mr Steinmeyer said.

The system will replace 15 per cent of the grid electricity used by the station for things like lighting, ventilation, escalators, and lifts.

The expansive roof space at Arden Station is also being used to harvest stormwater and rainwater to supply non-drinking water to the stations, which can be used for things like toilet flushing.

“The stormwater and rainwater initiatives are an Australian first for underground railway stations,” Mr Steinmeyer said.

“Capturing rain and stormwater, along with water-efficient design, will mean a 43 per cent saving in water use across all the Metro Tunnel stations.”

From one end of the tunnels to the other, the Metro Tunnel team is raising the bar for sustainability on major infrastructure projects in Australia.

Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the project include using concrete with lower cement content for the lining of the twin nine-kilometre tunnels, by replacing cement with lower-carbon materials of equal strength.

Each of the five underground stations will also use regenerative braking systems in escalators and lifts to capture and reuse energy that would otherwise be lost through heat.

“Anytime our escalators or lifts slow down or stop we capture that energy and store it as electricity,” Mr Steinmeyer said.

The Metro Tunnel team is targeting a five-star Green Star Design and As Built rating for all five of its stations – Arden, Parkville, State Library, Town Hall, and Anzac on St Kilda Rd.

The team is making great progress on construction of the stations and tunnels to get them ready to start testing trains underground in the second half of this year. •

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