In densely populated countries such as the Netherlands, finding available surface area where solar energy can be harvested is a challenge. Railway company ProRail has initiated project NEWRAIL, to explore the viability of placing PV solar modules on sound barriers alongside the Dutch railway tracks. These sound barriers offer a huge surface area, and potentially offer a great opportunity to generate solar energy. As an employee of TNO, I worked on the preliminary design of the solar system construction.

Together with the consortium partners, we developed a programme of requirements, considering a large number of context factors that influence the construction. Based on this, we developed many sketch designs and explored a number of concept designs. A preliminary design was made, that would serve a pilot project and a large-scale solution simultaneously. This resulting design was presented in a tender for contractors and engineering consultants.

The pilot project was originally scheduled to be executed in America, Limburg. Due to circumstances, it has been relocated to Dronten, Flevoland, where the construction is to be placed in 2022.

This project was a partnership between ProRail, the municipality of Horst aan de Maas, TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), energy cooperative Reindonk Energie, and The Hague University of Applied Sciences.