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  • Harnessing Solar Power:

    • Indian Railways, being a significant consumer of energy resources, it is important to identify cost-effective energy system options with least environmental impacts. In the Budget 2020-21, it has been announced that: “Indian Railways has planned to utilize its unused vacant Railway land for setting up of land based solar plants on vacant unused land parcels and on land along railway tracks.

  • Journey so far:

    • As part of this, as on 31.03.2021, 119.98 MW of solar plants (113.28 MW on Roof tops + 6.7 MW on land) have already been commissioned over IR.

      3MW Solar power plant on Roof Top of Howrah Railway station

  • Rail Coach Factory Rae Bareli – the Green Factory:

    • 2MW Solar Power Plant installed generating 2.8 million units of electricity annually. First captive Solar Power Plant of IR. Entire factory and Railway Colony is running on solar power.

         2 MW Solar Power Plant - RCF RBL
         2 MW Solar Power Plant - RCF RBL
  • Renewable energy generation wherever possible:

    • Indian Railway has committed itself to the cause of reducing carbon emission by adopting renewable energy on priority. Some of the innovative implementations of use of solar energy generation:

         Hybrid System at Level Crossing Gates
         Hybrid system for lighting at LC Gate at Bhachau station     on Western Railway

         Solar based street light in Railway colonies
         Solar PV Panels at Stations (North Western Railway)

         Solar PV Panels at Stations (North Western Railway)
         1HP Solar Pump Provided at Sri Dungargarh in Bikaner      Division (North Western Railway)

         Solar Water Heater at Running Room, Jaipur
            (North Western Railway)
         Solar Panels at Neemuch Station Building (Roof top)

      The above includes harnessing solar energy in all possible ways like:

      • Grid connected/off grid solar pane provided at Divisional Head Quarters, Zonal headquarters, maintenance depots, sheds and workshops.
      • Solar plus wind hybrid power systems at stations, in addition to the existing power supply to harness the wind and solar energy to the fullest.
      • Solar based water heating system at all railway stations, rest houses, running rooms, hospitals, base-kitchens & other railway premises.
      • Use of solar cooker in Railways Institutes, Training Schools, rest Houses, Running Rooms, Base Kitchen and other Railways premises.

  • Green initiative on Rail coaches:

    • Solar Panels on roof top of Narrow gauge

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Emergency LED lights IN Narrow Gauge coaches

  • Details of solar panel provided on Narrow Gauge coaches:

    • Railway has provided Solar Panel on roof top of coaches for train lighting system in four narrow gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and fourteen narrow gauge coaches plying on Kalka-Shimla section on trial basis.

      S.N.SOLAR MODIFIED NARROW GUAGE COACHES Kalka-Shimla Section(Ambala Division)24 V PTK-JDNX section(Firozpur Division) 24V PTK-JDNX section(Firozpur Division) 110V
      1Holding of narrow gauge coaches 86 Nos.82 Nos.
      2Nos of coaches modified by provision of Solar Panels on roof. 14 Nos.03 Nos. 01 No.
      3Date of modification. Nov, 2012Jun, 2011 July, 2011
      4Rating of Solar Modules. 2x100Wp16x80 Wp 18x80 Wp
      5Battery Used 24 V / 210 AH One set ( 2.2V x12 nos) 24 V / 210 AH One set ( 2.2V x12 nos) 12 V / 70AH Two sets (12V x9 nos)
      6Rating of Inverter cum Charge controller. 10 A40A 30A
      7Whether Alternator Removed ( 3.0 KW ) YesNo ( Disconnected) Yes
      8Capacity of old batteries 12 x 2 V 24V,210 AH24V,210 AH 24V,210 AH
      9Connected light load per coach 42 Watt(7x6w LED)140 Watt (7x20w FTL) 72 Watt (9 x8w LED)
      10Connected fan load per coach Nil384 Watt (12 x32w) 240 Watt (10 x24w)
      11Connected Laptop charging load per coach NilNil 120 Watt (2 x60w)
      12Total Load 42 Watt524 Watt 432 Watt
      13Battery bank (Additional) 2 x12 V SMF BatteryNil Nil
      IIModification in 2014
      1Nos of coaches modified by provision of Solar Panels on roof. 01 Nos.- -
      2Date of modification. Nov, 2014- -
      3Rating of Solar Modules. 8x35Wp- -
      4Battery Bank - -
      5Rating of Inverter cum Charge controller. 20 A- -
      6Whether Alternator Removed ( 3.0 KW ) Yes- -
      S.N.Parameters Kangra Valley Section, Firozpur Kalka-Shimla Section, Ambala
      1Holding of NG coaches 82 86
      2No. of coaches provided with solar PV units on the roof 3 1 14 1
      3Date of provision Since June, 2011 Since July, 2011 Since Nov, 2012 August, 2014
      4Rating of solar modules 16 x 80Wp 18 x 80Wp 2 x 100Wp 8 x 35Wp
      5Battery used 24V, 210Ah 110V, 70Ah 24V, 210Ah 24V, 210Ah
      6Rating of charge controller 40A 30A 10A 20A
      7No. of solar panels 16 18 2 8
      8Rating of each solar panel 80Wp 80Wp 100Wp 35Wp
      9Coach Load (Summer) 524W 432W 42W 42W
      10Coach Load (Winter) 140W 192W 42W 42W
      11Approx. Cost of system 2.5 Lacs 2.5 Lacs 2.5 Lacs 2.5 Lacs
      12Make of solar panels Tata BP Solar Tata BP Solar Surana Ventures Ltd. CEL
      13Average Power generation (Summer) 12.45 kWh/Day 12.45 kWh/Day 0.8 kWh/Day 1.13 kWh/Day
      14Average Power generation (winter) 9.94 kWh/Day 9.94 kWh/Day 0.6 kWh/Day 0.83 kWh/Day
      15Defects observed - -
      • Battery not being charged fully
      • Upper surface of some of the panels became brittle.
      • Cases of stone hitting on solar modules in 4 coaches
      16Remarks Effective charging of batteries without requiring any external charging.
      1. 50-60% of battery charging.
      2. External charging is required at both ends i.e KLK & SML
      1. 90% of battery charging.
      2. Normally no external charging is required, however external charging is required during cloudy season
         Solar panel on BG Non A/C coaches
         Solar panel at BG Railway coach

      Two Broad Gauge GS coaches are also provided with solar panel on roof top for train lighting on trial basis.

      Railway has decided to provide solar panels on roof top of GS coaches of two day running intercity trains and 50% Narrow gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section for extended trials for one year in all weather conditions.

      Presently electrical power arrangement in rail coaches is either Self Generating (SG) type or End On Generation (EOG) type which consumes fossil fuel and requires high maintenance for under slung fitted generating equipments. Delhi Division has provided Solar PV system for electrical power requirement of light & fan first time in Indian Railways in one broad gauge Non-AC coach GS 20022. The provision of Solar PV will reduce carbon foot prints and requires less maintenance in comparison to existing generating equipments. The coach with Solar PV is running successfully in train service from last 05 months and its performance is found satisfactory.

  • Solar Power on Science Express:

    • Science Express is the first train of its kind in India that is having indigenous solar PV modules on its roof top. Train is sheer manifestation of Make In India as well as Clean India & Green India, ideology of government.

         Solar Panels on the Roof of Science Express

      Indian Railways are committed to use of greener energy and in this process rooftop spaces of one of Non AC BG coaches was also provided with conventional solar panel on experimental basis. This coach has shown that it is possible to feed the almost all the power requirement of a Non ac COACH from solar power during day time and also partly for night time by storing excess solar energy in the batteries. To show case and further work on various this possibilities in this field Science Express has been targeted. This will act as mobile education institute for science aspirants. The name in itself speaks for in depth approach, to touch every possible nuke and corner of Science & Technology. CEL has provided solar panels on three Air Conditioned Coaches in Science Express using its solar expertise. It has also used indigenous flexible PV modules on roof of one coach of this train, in a record time.

         Solar Panels on the Roof of Science Express
         Solar Panels on the Roof of Science Express

      In Science Express Modules are mounted on the roof top of coaches using adhesives. Adhesive used is Polyurethane Adhesive Sealant 560 for high strength bonding that can replace rivets and mechanical fasteners. It can withstand UV rays for long time. Further the tape "3M Extreme Sealing" is also used for double protection. The tape is abrasion resistance and has excellent adhesive properties.

      Here, in each coach different type of technology has been used. These technologies have reduced the weight by 80%. These are all flexible solar panels. In this process Central Electronics Ltd. (CEL), a PSU with Min of Science and Technology has taken lead and specially designed and produced flexible Solar Photovoltaic modules- for use on the Science Express under the “Make in India” initiative. One of three coaches has been provided with India made flexible solar panels. This is the first time that Flexible PV modules have been produced in the country. Approximately 3 KWp Solar Photo Voltaic Power plant has been installed on the roof top of the coach. They supply electricity to the utility grid using Inverter. The output power of the Inverter is synchronized with LT side (415V, 3 phase). These plants operate automatically and are controlled by a microprocessor-based control system.

         Science express with solar panel on its roof top
         Solar Panel in the Window of Science Express

      Reliability of any plant is mostly depending on the configuration and functioning of inverter; interfaces of the inverter with grid and the way in which the inverter detects the islanding situations, in the case of grid failures for taking corrective actions for isolation from the grid. The Power Conditioning Unit / Inverter provides AC power to the specified grid with an obje ctive to reduce the dependency on conventional power as well as to minimize the consumption of fossil fuel (e.g. diesel). The Power Conditioning unit mainly comprises of MPPT, and an inverter. The high efficiency inverter converts the DC power available from the Array into AC, by incorporating IGBT devices for power conversion. The microprocessor controlled inverter incorporates MPPT technology and incorporates all the desired safety features.

      All the measures for the safety have also been taken into consideration. Roof top wires are concealed under the long life tapes. Further these wires are sheated under flexible conduits inside the coach. Different levels of isolations are provided at different steps. Fuse cut offs are provided inside the junction boxes and MCBs are provided just outside at the doorstep of AC outputs and near RMPU's LT panel.

  • Future planning:

    • It has been decided by Ministry of Railways under the directions of Hon’ble Prime Minister to provide solar power plants on vacant unused Railway land. for meeting its complete power requirement in 2030. As a part of this, two pilot projects at Diwana (2 MW capacity) and Bina (1.7 MW, world’s first of its kind project feeding solar power directly to Railway’s traction system at 25 kiloVolts) capacity has been successfully commissioned over Northern and West Central Railway. Besides above pilot projects, work is in progress for 50 MW land based solar plant at Bhilai (SECR) and IR has also tied up 400 MW power with RUMS (Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Project).

         2 MWp solar project at Diwana, Haryana
         1.7 MW solar project at Bina, MP

      To further proliferate these pilot projects on a larger scale, initially, Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) has been mandated to initially undertake 1.4 GW solar projects on Railway land in three phases. Additionally, in order to optimize consumption of conventional and renewable power so as to avoid surplus renewable power during peak hours, procurement of renewable power in RTC (Round the Clock) mode and a storage based solar pilot project, is also planned to manage peak demand management and solar peak generation management.