Stepping up its dependency on solar power, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) plans to install solar panels at the land available near Muttom yard. The panels are being planned to be erected on nine acres of land available at Muttom yard for generating 3MW power. KMRL has engaged an agency to study the possibility of fixing solar panels on the land which is earmarked for development activities in future. “In the current stage, we do not require the entire land available at Muttom for the operations of Metro. So, we are trying to utilize it for generating solar power for meeting our energy requirements. Meanwhile, in the long run KMRL will require this land for further development activities,” said a Kochi Metro official.
It is pointed out that Metro has 52.3 acres at Muttom. “Out of this, an area of 31.1 acres has been fenced for developing the Muttom depot. The remaining 21.2 acres have been kept aside for development works in future,” added the official. Responding to the public demand to install such panels near Metro’s viaduct, KMRL said, “We have a clear plan to alternate energy and we have already started working on solar-energy projects.” With the state government showing active interest in implementing Athirappilly hydroelectric project, social media has been actively discussing the possibility of increasing the dependency on solar power.
Earlier, KMRL had announced their plans to install solar panels on the rooftop of 22 stations and buildings in the Metro yard. The installation capacity of the rooftop project is 4MW power.”We have started installing solar panels on the buildings at Muttom yard during last November,” said KMRL. KMRL and Hero Solar Energy (P) Ltd had signed the power purchase agreement (PPA) for 4MW solar power as part of the Metro project. After inviting tenders, the works were awarded to Hero Solar for a cost of Rs 5.51 per unit for the next 25 years. The rooftop project is being implemented through Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model, where the vendor would do the complete investment of nearly Rs 27 crore as well as the operation and maintenance, and KMRL will buy the power from the vendor. Kochi Metro has been touted as one of the most environment friendly transport projects in the city. The designs of the Metro stations envisage features like maximum natural ventilation in passenger areas, use of LED lighting, water efficient fittings in toilets and rainwater harvesting wherever possible.