Indian Railways starts using solar energy in Karnataka

Recurrent Energy solar business

The South Western Railway (SWR) has installed solar panels on the roof of its railway stations, terraces of its buildings and at level-crossing gates across Karnataka to utilize renewable energy for its power needs.

“We have installed solar panels on top of stations, service buildings and level-crossing in the zone, which operates across Karnataka, Goa and parts of Andhra Pradesh to harness natural energy for meeting our power needs,” the official said in a statement.

Hubli, where the zonal railway is headquartered, is about 400 km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.

Solar panels are installed on the roof top of 128 major stations across the zone, including Hubli, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hospet, Gadag and Ballari, on the terraces of 7 buildings at Hubli, Bengaluru and Mysuru.

Photo voltaic cell lights have been installed at 221 level-crossing gates across the zone. Solar panels have also been set up on top of workshops and sheds in the zone, spanning the state.

“We expect to generate 4.7-million units of power from the solar panels this year during sunny days,” said the official.

The SWR has provided 4.37-megawatt peak (MWp) plants on developer mode and 165 kilowatt peak KWp) solar plant across the zone.

Using solar energy will enable us to save Rs 1.88 crore in electricity bills in this fiscal (2020-21) year.

The zonal railway also plans to set up land-based solar plants at track side and railway vacant lands to use sun’s energy.

Rail Energy Management Company, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, has floated a tender for land-based solar plants of 20MWp in vacant ands and 8.3MWp on track sides across the zone.

“Land has been identified for installing plants to generate 98MWp from solar energy,” noted the official.

The railways plan to source 1,000MW of solar power and 200MW of wind power by 2021-22 across the country.

About 500MW will be generated from roof-top solar panels on buildings and 500MW from land-based solar plants to meet traction and non-traction requirements.