Railways to fast-track renewable energy projects

Solar plants to be set up along tracks and on vacant land under it

Railways are gearing up to reach the goal of Zero Net Carbon Emitter by 2030 by fast-tracking renewable energy projects, including setting up of solar plants on unused railway land and along the track.

Southern Railway has identified 268 acres of vacant land and 169 acres of land under it as part of its plans to increase solar power generation. Solar plants with a capacity of around 67 MWp (Mega Watt peak – a solar power measure) and capacity of 40 MWp will be installed on vacant land and along the tracks in the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) mode.

Traction power needs

Railways have already installed about 114 MW of rooftop solar power plants in over 1,000 railway stations and 400 service buildings. The solar plants on land along the track are for meeting its traction power requirement.

Railways have plans to set up 3 GWp (Gigawatts peak) of land-based solar plants in three phases. Further, it will also take up a storage-based solar project. This pilot project is being taken up to manage peak demand management and solar peak generation management.

Dip in power bills

By tapping solar power and setting up windmills, Southern Railway saved ₹13.25 crore on traction and ₹1.77 crore on non-traction energy bills during 2020-21.

Solar power panels have been installed at various locations, railway stations and at level-crossing gates in the Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram section. Windmills have been erected at Kayathar in Tuticorin district under the Madurai railway division. The total capacity of windmills erected at ₹72 crore is 10.5 MW.

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