Enfinity, a renewable energy company, has secured a contract from Infrabel, the Belgian railway infrastructure manager, to develop a solar power project on the roof of the high-speed rail tunnel along the E19 highway in Belgium.

Under this $20.1m project, the company will install more than 16,000 solar panels on the roof of the high-speed rail tunnel stretching just over 2 miles connecting Amsterdam and Paris via Brussels.

The solar power project, to be placed on 50,000 square meter of roof space, is estimated to generate 3.3MWh of electricity per year for use by the trains and station servicing both conventional and high-speed trains, representing a new application of solar power in Europe.

The company has begun the installation of the solar panels on the tunnel’s northern side this summer and expects to complete the project by December 2010.

Enfinity Europe CEO Patrick Decuyper said that in the months to come, a large technical team will install more than 16,000 monocrystalline solar panels (245W per panel) on the roof with a special ballast tile structure, with no rooftop perforations required.

“During the installation, we naturally take into account roof vibrations that may occur when trains rush through the tunnel,” Decuyper said.