World's first solar panel bus stop unveiled in Oldbury

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First published in News

THE world's first solar panel powered bus stop has been unveiled in Oldbury shining a light on bus timetables.

The ground-breaking bus stop on Bromford Road boasts four electronic paper screens providing real time information about bus services.

The screens limit glare from sunlight and can be read from wider angles to make it easier for passengers to read.

The solar powered bus stop is part of Centro’s Government funded Smart Network, Smarter Choices project which aims to cut carbon, boost the economy and connect residents to jobs.

Tom Skidmore, senior project manager at Centro, said: “This is the next step in our trial of new passenger information systems and looking at the future of how we work.

“Using solar power can make a major difference in allowing us to provide digital information at bus stops where it has proved difficult to connect with conventional means.

He added: “The fact that this represents another world first really demonstrates Centro’s commitment to being at the forefront of both passenger information and carbon reduction.”

The panels are connected with an internal device which monitors sunlight levels at the stop.

The trial will initially run until the end of May and help provide research on solar power could be used to help fill in energy gaps at hard-to-reach stops and shelters.

Gareth Tyler, intelligent transport systems consultant with IBI Group, said: “IBI Group is pleased to supply Centro with this green energy-powered display solution to providing public transport information.

“As well as helping to reduce our carbon footprint, this technology opens the door for Centro to provide the next generation of public transport information direct to travellers at more of its bus stops including those where it is difficult to install a main power supply.”

E-paper passenger information screens were first trialled at a bus stop in Halesowen Street, Oldbury last year in what Birmingham consultants IBI Group claimed was the first of its kind in the world.

The displays only require power when being updated and once refreshed, can retain information without needing any additional electricity.

At 10.2 inches, each display is slightly bigger than the largest Kindle currently available giving them the capacity to display more information.

Oldbury is fast becoming Britain's solar panel hotspot, last month the Government launched its solar strategy at Sunsolar, Houghton Street, which was given £5 million Government grant to build a £10 million factory to build solar panels last year creating over 500 jobs by 2018.

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