Railways plans to harness solar power in India

Railways has rolled out a non-AC coach of Rewari-Sitapur passenger train lit by solar panels installed on its roof as part of its plan to harness the green source of energy in a big way.

Railways is planning to come out with a solar policy for procuring 1000 MW solar power in the next five years.

Coaches of Shan-e-Punjab Express and Taj Express are also going to be equipped with solar power shortly, a senior Northern Railway official said.

It cost about Rs 3.90 lakh for equipping the non-AC coach of Rewari-Sitapur passenger train while the Railways will save Rs 1.24 lakh per year in power cost.

The solar panels generate about 17 units of power in a day which enables the lighting system in the coach.

Currently we will be installing solar panels on non-AC coaches only, he said.

Solar panels have also been provided on top of coaches of two narrow-gauge trains plying on Pathankot-Jogindernagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section on trial basis. “On evaluation of trial and cost benefit analysis, further study of economic viability will be undertaken,” he said.

Railways proposes to harness solar energy by utilising roof-top space of railway stations, other railway buildings and land including through the PPP mode as per the feasibility, the modalities of which are being worked out.

Railways has plan to generate 1000 MW solar power in the next five years, Railway Board Member (Electrical) Navin Tandon said.

Steps are being taken to install solar plants at railway building rooftops and level crossings across the country, he said.

According to the plan, railways proposes to install solar power plants of about 8.8 MW capacity at railway stations, railway office buildings and level crossing gates throughout the country under railway funding.

These include provision of 10 KWp solar PV modules each at 200 stations under various Zonal Railways, provision of total 4.05 MWp Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) at roof top of 21 railway office buildings and provision of total 1.3 MWp capacity Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) plants at 2000 Level Crossing gates on Indian railways.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has also emphasised on promotion of sustainable development and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

The generation of solar supply will help railways supply power at remote locations and saving in diesel due to reduced running of diesel generators.