There is already a train line in the United Kingdom operating entirely on solar energy, be it the signaling signals, lights and other elements needed to maintain the circuit operations in Aldershot, Hampshire on the Wessex railway network. Altogether there are 100 solar panels collecting solar energy, being considered the “first in the world” to do so, as The Guardian puts it.
This leap into the use of renewable energy could only be the beginning of a new revolution in this transport industry as it moves from today's diesel to electric trains. This pilot program produces about 30 kW of energy, and is part of a billion-pound investment plan to electrify train lines, thereby significantly reducing environmental impact by helping to reduce air pollution, emissions greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to the obvious cut in operating costs. The plan is to eliminate diesel from the rail network by 2040.
According to those responsible for the project, renewable energy can power 20% of Liverpol's Merseyrail network, 15% of lines in Kent, Sussex and Wessex, and in the future, trains running in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham, London and Manchester.
Although the system used by the UK is pioneering, India already has about 250 solar powered trains, but with panels attached directly to vehicles. Indian railways will switch to the solar farm system, as in the UK, due to the additional energy consumption required due to the weight of the panels on the trains. Indian Railways even aims to become the first rail network in the world to become 100% renewable energy based in the next decade, distributing 30 GW solar panels across 51,000 hectares of land. Before that, by 2025, it expects to have a third of its electricity demand from renewable sources.