Unlike other companies who have committed to socially and environmentally responsible behaviour, Riding Sunbeams wrote a just transition commitment into its legal working agreement. This means that any decision taken by the company will be made in line with the principles of a just transition.
The news follows the team securing their first commercial funding from Thrive Renewables and Friends Provident Foundation. Founded by climate charity Possible and Community Energy South, Riding Sunbeams will use this investment to develop a pipeline of new renewable energy projects in South East England and the Valleys in South Wales to deliver on their aim to help decarbonise the rail system and benefit commuters and local communities. The new working capital will enable Riding Sunbeams to provide a commercial route to market for community energy groups looking for new projects to develop and connect them to regional rail network operators like Network Rail who will pay them a fair price for their power. This will enable rail network operators to source competitively priced green electricity at the same time as supporting local communities, as well as the UK’s efforts to achieve a net zero economy.
The team proved the technical concept of powering railways directly by solar power with its First Light demonstrator project in Aldershot last year. Riding Sunbeams is currently leading another First of a Kind project for Innovate UK and the Department for Transport, which aims to power electrified rail networks which run on alternating current (AC) power from overhead lines.