Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Santiago subway will be first powered by solar and wind

Beginning in 2017, the metro system in Santiago, Chile, will be the first to operate mostly on renewable energy. (Serjio74 /

In a development that could reshape urban transit, a major South American city is set to rely on solar- and wind-powered energy to run its subway.

Adele Peters reports for Fast Company that beginning in 2017, the metro system in Santiago, Chile, will be the first to operate mostly on renewable energy. Solar power will be drawn from Chile’s Atacama desert, supplemented with energy from a nearby wind farm.  

The system serves 2.5 million riders daily, the article says. It is the second largest in Latin America. Sixty percent of its energy would be derived from solar and nearly 20 percent from wind. To boost energy production at the solar farm, robots will keep solar panels free of dust and sand, Peters notes.  

Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, a California-based company designing the solar installation, expects other metro systems to follow Santiago’s lead. “I think this is the beginning of a widespread trend,” he tells Fast Company. Technology improvements and cost reductions made it possible for Santiago to embrace renewable energy, he says. Read Metro de Santiago’s announcement in Spanish here

Fast Company

More from Citiscope

Latest Commentary