Railways begin trial runs for solar trains in Jodhpur
The power generated by the solar panels will run lights, fans and mobile charging sockets in the coaches. If the trials are successful, then the technology will be used in regular trains.jaipur Updated: Jul 08, 2017 18:49 IST
In line with Indian Railways’ mission to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, North Western Railway (NWR) has started test runs for using solar panel on coaches for powering lights and fans.
If the trials are successful, then the technology would be used in regular trains in a phase-wise manner, an official said.
“At present, we are conducting test runs on a DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) train in Jodhpur division. Each coach has 12 solar panels on the rooftop,” NWR chief public relations officer Tarun Jain told HT.
“The power generated is used for running non-AC appliances, which basically means lights, fans and mobile charging sockets in the coaches. If the test runs are successful then the same model will be replicated on other trains,” Jain told HT.
The 12 panels, each panel producing 300 watts in ideal conditions, will be able to generate 3.6 kilowatts of electricity and supplant the load of 1.5 kilowatts required to power the CFL lights and fans inside the coaches.
All panels are secured in place by U-channels that are welded to the coach body on the rooftop.
The solar powered trains would bring down the cost of the fuel, as at present, the coaches draw the power from the engine.
In the railway budget for 2016-17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced plans to generate 1,000 MW solar power in the next five years. The railways have already been working on installing solar panels on rooftops of at railway stations and at level crossings across the country.
Until now, NWR has set up 1 MW solar power projects and the ongoing works once completed will take the capacity to 2 MW.
As part of its green effort, NWR has converted rail sections under Jodhpur rail division into green corridors. Trains plying on the Barmer-Munabao and Pipad-Bilada rail sections have been fitted with bio-toilets.
NWR is also setting up a waste-to-energy plant that will use plastic bottles and cups disposed of by passengers at the Jaipur railway station.