Solar Adoption Has Helped Southern Railway Save ₹20 Million Annually in Power Bills

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Southern Railway is saving ₹20 million (~$251,388) annually on its power bills by opting for solar energy.

The South Zone of Indian Railways installed 192 kW of solar systems during the financial year (FY) 2021-22, taking the total installed capacity of solar plants to 5.06 MW, generating 5.473 million units (MU) of energy during the year. The zone saved ₹23.86 million (~$300,111) in electricity bills during the year.

Since deploying the solar projects in 2017-18, Southern Railway generated 16.309 MU of solar energy up to June 2022, with cumulative savings of around ₹64.55 million (~$811,911).

According to a recently released statement by Southern Railway, solar systems have been installed at Dr. MGR Chennai Central, MMC complex, Katpadi, Tambaram, Mambalam, Chief Workshop Manager’s Office at Trichy Golden Rock Workshop, Level Crossing Gates in Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram section, Signal & Telecom Workshop at Podanur, Salem Junction, Namakkal, Tiruppur, Parli, and Lakkiti.

Solar systems have also been installed in two suburban stations of Guindy and Chengalpattu and Divisional Railway Managers’ offices in Tiruchchirappalli and Madurai.

The zone has planned to install solar projects on its vacant land and private land adjacent to the traction substations of the Southern Railway. The energy generated will feed the traction loads resulting in considerable savings in energy bills.

Zone harnessed 25.696 MU through windmills in FY ‘22

Southern Railway commissioned five windmills of 2.1 MW capacity each, totaling 10.5 MW, in January 2019 at the cost of ₹740 million (~$9.30 million). In FY ‘22, the energy harnessed by the zone from windmills was 25.686 MU, leading to savings of ₹145.4 million (~$1.83 million).

The zone has deployed windmills at Kayathar (near Gangai Kondan/Kadambur railway stations) in the Tuticorin district.

Until July 2022, Southern Railway harnessed 91.564 MU of energy through windmills, resulting in savings in energy bills worth ₹485.4 million (~$6.11 million). On July 13, the five windmills generated 2,61,412 units of energy.

The green energy generated by the zone from windmills fulfilled 1.86% of the traction energy requirement for operating electric trains during FY ’22. About 2.12% of the energy requirement for traction and non-traction purposes was met from green energy generated by solar and wind plants.

In July, REMC Limited, a joint venture of Indian Railways and RITES, invited bids to procure 1 GW of round-the-clock power from grid-connected renewable projects with or without storage for 25 years.

The agency also invited bids to set up 1.548 GW of ground-mounted solar power projects near traction substations all over India.