As part of the Southern Railway’s initiative to go green and save on electricity costs by producing 4 MW of solar power, rooftop solar plants will be installed at 11 stations in Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram railway divisions.
“As far as the Railways is concerned, it is a win-win situation,” said G Suryanarayana, divisional electrical engineer (general services) Palakkad division. “Currently, the Railways pays a tariff of `8.10 per unit to the KSEB. Once the solar energy is produced, the Railways will need to pay only `3.64 per unit for 25 years as per the deal agreed with Azure Power Rooftop Solutions Pvt Ltd.”
Rooftop solar plants with a total installed capacity of 390 kilowatt peak (kWp) will be set up at seven stations in Palakkad division — Kozhikode, Mangalore Central, Kannur, Palakkad, Shoranur, Mangalore Junction and Thalassery — and four plants with a total capacity of 300 kWp in Thiruvananthapuram division — Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Nagercoil and Thrissur.
Central Electronics Ltd, which is the implementing agency for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, had floated tenders to install, operate and maintain the solar plants.
The tender document lists A1 category stations such as Ernakulam as well as A and B category stations in the state for the implementation of grid-connected rooftop solar photovoltaic systems atop Railways office buildings and stations. The bids of Azure Power Rooftop Solutions has been finalised for Kerala, revealed Railways officers.
According to Railways sources, contracts and tenders floated for installing the rooftop solar plants were based on developer mode, wherein the project developer will do the site survey, design, manufacture, erection testing and commissioning, including warranty, operation and maintenance of the solar panels.
The Railways has signed a long-term contract for power purchase from these solar plants with the bidder at `3.64 per unit for 25 years.
The cost of installing a 10 kWp plant is `7.3 lakh. In Palakkad, a 10 kWp plant at the divisional railway manager’s office and two 10 kWp plants at the Divisional Railway Hospital are already producing power. Similarly, a 10 kWp plant has been commissioned at the office of the divisional railway manager in Thiruvananthapuram also.