Solar power will soon be used to meet most energy needs of the Railway’s Matunga workshop. Officials said the workshop, one of the biggest in the country, would be the first such in Mumbai to use solar energy. The solar panels, already fitted at the roof of the workshop that annually requires almost 4.5 lakh units of electricity, will produce around 1 megawatt ( MW) of energy. Spanning 35 hectares of land, the Matunga workshop at present uses thermal energy. The green initiative, likely to kick off in the last week of December, aims to generate at least 20 kilowatt of electricity initially, working up to the 1 mega watt target. “We have been working on making space for the solar panels on the roof of our workshop for a long time. It is supplemented in a grid synchronised manner, which will ensure we can replace thermal power with solar to meet most of out energy requirements,” said a senior Central Railway (CR) official.
Though the panels installed at present are an investment by the Railways, the final plan is to enter into a public private partnership (PPP) model with major power units. “The plan is to ensure that major power units enter into a PPP model with the workshop. They will invest partially into the building of solar panels at the workshop and also make money through their usage. Tenders for this will be floated soon,” said the CR official. The panels are first expected to generate electricity for the office requirements of the workshop, followed by operational usage. “The use of solar power will not just be a green form of energy for the workshop but also reduce our power bills to a great extent. During monsoons or when it’s not sunny, we will rely on thermal electricity. Our aim is to at least generate 3,000 units of electricity in four hours in the morning,” said an official from the Matunga workshop.