It’s spring in Switzerland now, but this story is cool enough to last till next winter: The tiny Swiss ski town of Tenna has an impressively large claim to fame. Although larger, well-known ski resorts overshadow it, when their aging ski lift needed replacing, Tenna invested in building one of the world’s first solar-powered ski lifts. How come? The lift, which began operating in mid-December, had to address a key challenge: There wasn’t enough room on the lift station roof for all the solar panels they needed. To solve this, they designed a suspension bridge of solar panel “wings” above the lift, which is nearly 500 yards long. The panels rotate to follow the sun and can be tilted to release snow if they start to get covered. Although there were concerns that suspension ropes laden with 82 “wings” would mar the idyllic mountain landscape, the setup turned out to be fairly subtle with the panels hanging at slight angles, making them look like black diamonds. The lift stays busy, shuttling 800 skiers an hour. Read more on Solar ‘Wings’ Power Swiss Ski Lift : Discovery News
Apparently, there are no limits to the imagination of how to use solar energy:
A two-mile-long Belgian rail tunnel, built to shelter trains from falling trees, will from Monday provide a double environmental benefit by hosting a unique solar power project, writes the Guardian. The high-speed line running from Paris to Amsterdam passes Antwerp and a nearby ancient forest. To avoid the need to fell protected trees, a long … Continue reading »
Truly astonishing things are possible if only human ingenuity travels the right direction. Judging from the flood of news on the latest eco-invention, the future doesn’t look as grim as some fear. Solar energy technology in particular is developing rapidly. Take Solar Roadways, for example, winners of General Electric’s ecomagination Challenge, or Mitsubishi’s spray-on solar … Continue reading »
Picture credit: Solar Lift Tenna.