Indian Railways has decided to install solar power panels alongside railway tracks, which will help to curb its power purchase costs and move towards clean sources of energy. The Railway Board has given its approval to utilize the linear land along railway tracks for installation of solar panels.
Indian Railways possess 47,300 hectares of acquired, vacant land out of which 90% is on the sides of tracks. On each side of the track 15-45 meters of vacant land is available. Experts’ estimate that 1.2 km of such land can accommodate one megawatt of solar generation capacity. Currently, the railways require an estimate of 12 GW of generation capacity, amounting to INR10,000 crore spent on electricity every year. The subsequent electrification of tracks is expected to reduce diesel consumption by about 2.8 billion liters, resulting in the reduction of the railway’s energy bill by about INR13,000 crore per year by FY2022.
The domestic production of solar plants will be in line with the ‘Make In India’ programme. It will consequently give rise to business opportunities of about Rs. 18,000 crore for the domestic solar industry consisting of equipment makers and plant installers. The tender is likely to be invited by Solar Energy Corporation of India, which is the government’s nodal agency for solar bidding. Trains running on diesel traction will be replaced by electric ones by December 2019, earning Indian Railways the title of ‘green transporter’. The railways plan to use solar and other renewable energy for all its requirements apart from zero use of diesel locomotives for traction by 2021-22.
Meanwhile, the Guwahati Railway station became the first railway station in India to run completely on solar power. The 700 kW plant has more than 2300 solar panels are installed over the station roof at a total cost of over INR 6.5 crore.
Date: 08.03.2019 | Source: Financial Express