The Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL) will file a petition with the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for installing solar panels having total capacity of 25MW on its infrastructure. The regulator’s nod is necessary for any consumer who wants to install panels having capacity of more than 1MW.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Brijesh Dixit, managing director of NMRCL, said panels having total capacity of 14MW would be installed in the first phase. “We want to meet 65% of our energy requirement through solar energy. Around 40% of the operational cost of any Metro Rail is electricity. As the present cost of the solar power is half of the power that is supplied by MSEDCL, it will lead to a saving of 20% in operational cost. NMRCL had roped in a technical consultant for estimating potential of solar energy generation and preparation of a business plan. The detailed project report (DPR) for solarization is now ready. Our aim is to create 25MW capacity,” he added.
As a part of the pilot project, NMRCL has already installed solar panels in its Civil Lines office. “We want to know beforehand what problems will be faced while going for solar power. We have also purchased an electric car, which we charge with solar power, as we want to run our feeder bus service on solar power,” Dixit said. This car was unveiled by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday evening.
MERC’s nod apart, NMRCL faces a number of challenges for using solar power. Elaborating on them, Dixit said, “Solar energy is generated at 415V but it has to be utilized for running trains at 25,000KV. Traction and non-traction loads share common network but operate at different voltages — 25KV and 33KV. Another problem is that connectivity for feeding solar power into Mahatransco grid is at 132KV level. Also, there are some difficulties in installing solar panels on the viaduct.”
Other than this green initiative, NMRCL has also decided to go in for rainwater harvesting, recycling of used water, maximum use of daylight at its stations and offices. “Our stations will have two pipeline networks. One will be for drinking water and the other for recycled water. The latter will be used in toilets and for watering plants,” the MD said.