Indian Railways aiming to materialize its ambitious plan of harnessing solar energy to run environment friendly train launched the 1600 HHP solar DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) train on Friday from Safdarjung railway station. It is a great step towards a clean and green future and will have a positive financial impact too.
The train will be stationed at platform number 1 of Safdarjung Railway station in New Delh. The train will be used on the 20km route between Safdarjung station and Farukh Nagar to the southwest.
The train has six trailer coaches, with 16 Indian made solar panels of 300 watt capacity fitted in each of them connected to a battery than can power the train for 72 hours . The solar panels will power all the electrical appliances inside. The energy generated through the panel will be stored in batteries and can be used during night as well.
About 50 such coaches are to be brought into service in the next few days. Initially they will be used on commuter routes but later they will be used for long-distance services as well.
Indian Railways plans to install 1GW of solar and 130MW of wind generating capacity over the next five years, half of which will be used to power train stations and half to power trains.
The state-owned rail operator first began fitting panels to its coaches in 2015 but they were used to power lights and air-conditioning. Trials of solar-driven trains began last year.
So far the company has signed power purchase agreements for about 250MW of solar for electrified rails, mainly from utility-scale farms such as the 50MW Rewa Ultra Mega Solar in Madhya Pradesh.
Ravinder Gupta, the chief executive of Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuel, said that the plans would save Indian Railways about $110m a year when they were fully implemented.
Annually, the Railways are hoping to reduce 239 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by saving approximately 90,800 liters of diesel per rake.