When thinking of solar power, I always try to think of large flat area for the solar panels to sit and make electricity. I personally think my place of employment should have car port type structures out in the parking lot, with solar panels on top of them. This way it would be a win-win, in that they get a structure to put the solar panels on. And we would get protection from the snow. Not to mention the excellent PR relationship.
Speaking of large areas, a space a train use is a perfect fit. The chain of cars, that a train pulls is a perfect length for solar panel to ride on. I figure, they would still have to be diesel for at least to get the train moving, but after the train reaches a certain speed, then the power from the solar panels may be enough to handled the steady drive speed.
I’ve seen designs where the trains would go thru a carport like structure with the solar panels attached to the top of the roof.
If solar trains every become economical, the solar portion would be a painted coating that’s painted on the covering or a system like First Solar’s could be mounted.
Anyway, I think that’s would be a great use of solar electric systems. Plus you may not wouldn’t need any battery storage element… If fact, maybe the system could even be used as a source of power for an electrical company. If you think about it, many possibilities exists. The solar panels of today are not like the Jimmy Carter era solar panels! Today the panel are getting very close to competing with fossil fuels on a cost basis (in Carter’s era, the solar panel back then were not even close). It should be an exciting time in the next few years, with wind and solar starting to be noticed more and more.