The Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal, has announced that the ministry has installed 95.67 MW of rooftop solar systems to date.
In response to an inquiry in the Lok Sabha, Goyal replied that the ministry had awarded nearly 248.46 MW of solar capacity.
The minister stated that the existing array of solar projects had been installed on various railway buildings, including 835 railway stations across the country. He added that the solar project tenders awarded by the Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL), a joint venture of the Indian Railways and RITES Limited, are currently under different stages of execution.
These projects are expected to cover the rooftops of railway station platforms, shelters, and various other buildings on completion.
During the question hour, Goyal stated that the Indian railways had plans to provide 500 MW of rooftop solar projects by 2021-2022 and that most of the work is being done under public-private partnership (PPP) by private partners. Indian Railways would not incur any capital expenditure under this model.
He added that private partners were also installing solar modules on trains.
The inquiry posed a series of questions about the number of stations in the country equipped with solar energy, whether the ministry had similar plans for other stations in the country, and if the government is willing to involve private partners for conducting these projects in the future.
Earlier, Mercom had reported that the Indian Railways is continuously trying to solarize the railway lines of the country. It is the single largest consumer of electricity with a roughly 2% share of the national energy consumption.
Last month, REMCL issued a Request for Selection (RfS) to procure power from wind-solar hybrid projects.
REMCL had also issued a request for qualification to set up approximately 32.56 MW of rooftop solar systems at various railway establishments and stations across the zonal railways in India.
Previously, it was reported that the Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels (IROAF) also floated a tender of 2 MW rooftop solar systems, which will be installed on the roof of each trailer coach of diesel-electric multiple units (DEMU).
Image credit: Ashwin Kumar from Bangalore, India [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Nithin Thomas is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. More articles from Nithin.