Railways plan 1,200 Mw of solar, wind energy

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In an effort to get at least a tenth of its energy need from renewable sources, the ministry of railways plans to set up at least a 1,000 Mw solar power plant and about 200 Mw of wind power plants by 2020. And, solar energy panels on train coach roofs.

In year, Indian Railways consumes 18.25 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity, 1.8 per cent of the country’s total. Its annual diesel need is 2.78 billion litres.

In a recent presentation, it said 1,000 Mw of solar units were envisaged to be set up by developers on railway or private land and rooftops of rail buildings, at their own cost; the ministry of new and renewable energy would give a subsidy or viability gap funding for five years.

 So far, 14 Mw of solar and 36.5 Mw of wind energy have been set up, and 218 railway stations have solar rooftop installations. ‘We expect about 10 Mw of additional solar capacity (via five zonal railways) by March 2017,” an official said.

Of the 1,000 Mw of solar units planned, half are planned as rooftop installations through developers and the rest as land-based systems.

 As for installing on coach roofs, government-owned Central Electronics (CEL) has provided solar panels on three coaches as an experiment; Northern and Southern Railways have been directed to provide panels on two more trains. CEL is to do a detailed
study for an additional 350 Mw rooftop capacity.

In wind energy, of the 200 Mw plan, about 40 Mw is in operation — including 10.5 Mw capacity at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and a 26 Mw unit at Jaisalmer, in October 2015. “Tenders will soon be issued for wind power plants in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra,” said the official quoted earlier.

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