In line with the Indian Railways ‘Solar Mission’, to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, its north western division will soon commence trials of coaches fitted with solar panels which will power all the electrical appliances inside a train.
The first trial run will be conducted in the next three to four days in Jodhpur, NWR Public Relations Officer Gopal Sharma told IndianExpress.com.
The work on one rake of Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU), which has six coaches, has already been completed by Noida-based firm Jakson Engineers Limited (JEL). The firm was awarded a Rs 1.57-crore contract last October by the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels for fitting solar panels on 50 DEMU coaches.
Every coach will be carrying 12 solar panels on the rooftop. The twelve panels, each panel producing 300 Watts in ideal conditions, will be able to generate 3.6 Kilowatts of electricity and supplant the load of 1.5 Kilowatts required to power the CFL lights and fans inside the coaches. All panels will be firmly held by U-channels that are welded to the coach body on the rooftop.
Annually, the Railways are hoping to reduce 239 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by saving approximately 90,800 litres of diesel per rake.
“The train route will be decided only after studying the project’s viability post the trials,” said PRO Sharma.
Jakson Engineers Limited (JL) has also been tasked with providing solar panels for DEMU coaches set to be used by the Railways for its pilot projects in Chennai and Amritsar.
“We have dispatched solar panels for 30 DEMU coaches in Chennai and 50 DEMU coaches in Amritsar,” said Dinesh Khanchandani of JEL.
Last year, the Indian Railways conducted trial runs of the Rewari-Sitapur passenger train fitted with solar panels at a cost of Rs 3.90 lakh. Two trains plying on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section were also equipped with solar panels on trial basis.
Presenting the Railway Budget for 2016-17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced plans to generate 1000 MW solar power in the next five years. The Railways have already undertaken steps to install solar panels on rooftops of at railway stations and at level crossings across the country.