Indian Railways launches first solar-powered train

More power to railways

Indian Railways on July 14 launched first solar-powered DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The train will run from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. A total of 16 solar panels, each producing 300 Wp, are fitted in six coaches.

Watt a change

The cost of these solar panels, manufactured under ‘Make in India’ initiative, is Rs 54 lakh. This is the first time in the world that solar panels are being used as grid in railways. The train has a power back-up and can run on battery for at least 72 hours.

Amount of power generated

The solar panels generate about 17 units of power in a day which enables the lighting system in the coach. Currently Railways will be installing solar panels on non-AC coaches only.

More solar trains to come soon

The railways are planning to introduce nearly 50 more such coaches in the coming days. Solar power would be introduced first in urban trains and later in long-distance trains as well.

Huge savings

By saving an estimated 1.2 lakh kilo litre of diesel every year, the railways will be able to pocket Rs 672 crore per year. The solar power will also help in reducing 2.7 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.

Utilising roof-top space

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

Plan ahead

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.

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