Today we’re looking at a new kind of solar project that puts those energy-generating panels in a new spot: in between train tracks!

The most well-known place we install solar panels is on a rooftop, but that’s not the only spot they can go.

We’ve heard a lot in the last few years about putting panels in otherwise unused spaces – like on highway sound barriers, or over canals.

As Fast Company reports, a startup in Switzerland called Sun-Ways is placing solar panels in the unused space between the rails on a rail line.

It’s space that can’t be used for anything else, because it has to stay clear for trains, and a lot of the time it’s just open and taking in sunlight.

So why not put some solar panels in place to put that solar energy to good use?

Sun-Ways is setting up a pilot project this summer in Switzerland, putting around 60 solar panels onto a roughly 140 foot stretch of track.

It’s important to note that the tracks don’t have to be modified in any way for these panels to work.

The trains can move the way they always do.

Well, except for one.

The company has a specially-modified train that puts the solar panels in place.

As the train rolls by, the panels unroll like a long carpet.

And they can be rolled back up if it’s time for track maintenance.

There are several other European companies working on similar solar-on-railroad ideas.

Given what a big deal rail is on the continent, I guess they didn’t want to see this opportunity… roll by.

Starting today in Peru, Indiana, it’s the Cole Porter Festival.

The community that Porter once called home pays tribute to the legendary songwriter with lots of music, including Cole’s Cover-Tune Contest.

But for those seeking a variety of experiences, they actually have a Cole Porter Meter: each part of the festival is rated as Some Cole, More Cole, or Maximum Cole!

Switzerland is turning the gap between train tracks into a ‘solar carpet’ (Fast Company)

Cole Porter Festival

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Photo by Jonathan Jones via Flickr/Creative Commons