Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus could soon become the first railway station to operate on solar energy. Central Railway (CR) authorities have begun the basic work of installing iron pillars to build the skeleton for these solar panel frames, which would generate 100 kilowatt (kw) electricity. Sources said this electricity can be used to power not only two of their office buildings, but also lights, fans and other machinery inside food stalls at the station. These metal frames are being installed on top to two different buildings at CST. The first one is a 7-storey railway building, which houses several offices, including the various departments of CR, IRCTC, Dedicated Freight Corridor, Container Corporation and other government offices. This building is on the west side of CST and adjacent to platform 1, from which Harbour line trains operate.
The second building where the metal frames are being setup is a two storeyed structure next to platform 6 of the suburban section. This segregates the suburban and long distance trains. It also houses the train control office. Sources said that it’s from this building that the solar power would be transferred to the rest of station. Tubelights, bulbs, fans and other smaller electrical appliances on the platform will also harness this energy. “Each of these buildings will have 50 kw of solar panels fitted on the rooftop,” said Narendra Patil, Chief PRO, Central Railway while speaking to mid-day on the developments.
At present, the railways are waiting for the rain to end, after which they will continue work of setting up solar panels. These panels will generate and store electricity in batteries, which shall then distribute it to the rest of the station. The project is expected to complete by December at an estimated total cost of R80 lakh. Trains that use 25000 volt electricity for running will procure energy from power plants at Dabhol and other similar power distributors. Incidentally, similar solar panels of 100 kw have been proposed on the Western Railway too, and the nodal station Churchgate is being considered as the place for setting up the panels, to power the entire office building.