Indian Railways Ramps Up its Efforts to Utilize Solar Power

In its bid to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030, the Indian Railways is slowly expanding its usage of renewable energy in its operations.

The Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal informed the Lok Sabha recently that the Indian Railways plans to harness 500 MW of land-based solar power for traction. The Railways also plans to harness 200 MW of wind energy, the bulk of which will be utilized for traction purpose, added Goyal.

At present, 26 MW of wind projects have been installed at Jaisalmer (Rajasthan), and another 10.5 MW of wind projects have been installed at Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu). Both are supplying power for train operations. Moreover, 50.4 MW of wind projects at Sangli ( Maharashtra) are under the commissioning process for train operations, said Goyal.

Goyal added that the Indian Railways is also utilizing unused land for renewable energy project development. So far, 3 MW of solar PV capacity has been set up on Indian Railway’s unused lands.

He further said that a 50 MW solar PV project at Bhilai (Madhya Pradesh) is also under implementation at Sukhi-Siwania in West Central Railway along with a 2 MW solar PV project at Diwana (Haryana) in Northern Railways.

A couple of weeks ago, REMCL, a joint venture formed between the Indian Railways and RITES Limited, had invited bids to set up 140 MW of wind-solar hybrid projects. The wind-solar hybrid projects will be set up under the nodal zonal railways of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Mercom has previously reported about how the Indian Railways is continuing its efforts to add solar capacity for its electricity requirements.

Recently, the Northern Railways had also invited developers for setting up of 4.715 MW of rooftop installations. This tender consisted of 133 installations of 10 kW (1.33 MW) and 677 installations of 5 kW (3.385 MW), totaling 4.715 MW, which was to be installed on D and E category railway stations.

In March 2019, REMCL tendered 60.17 MW of rooftop solar PV capacity to be set up on the rooftops of offices, buildings, and railway establishments across the zonal railways in India. In January 2019, REMCL had invited bids for setting up of 2 MW of solar projects along the Delhi-Ambala railway track.

Image credit: Fourth Partner Energy