Mumbai: Since the time Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) took over monorail maintenance, they are now thinking of cost cutting only to make this a viable public transport outfit. And in its first such step, the authority has decided to put a tab on the increasing power bills. Officials said they have taken a decision to install solar panel roofs on all the monorail stations. This decision will help the development authority save Rs 4 crore annually on their power bills.
Soon at all monorail station rooftops except Dadar (east) will be installed with solar panels. “There is a high rise building adjacent to the monorail station at Dadar (east), which is makes it tough to instal a solar panel. The shadow of this building will act as a hurdle and will not suffice our purpose,” said the official.
MMRDA has hired a private company to purchase and instal the solar panels for a period of 24 years. Currently, TATA Power company charges MMRDA Rs 11 per unit for the electricity consumed for the illumination of the stations. The authority is paying monthly power bills of Rs 75 lakh. In contrast, the MMRDA will be only Rs 3.75 per unit to the agency for the electricity generated by the solar power panels.
The authority will save Rs 4 crore per year and moreover, not have to purchase the power generated from the panels anymore. The agency on its part will also stand to profit, as the government policy allows it to apply for a subsidy, encouraging switching to solar power. “Since the contract to the power supply agency is awarded for 24 years, they can easily recover the cost spent on the purchase of solar panels. They can also make profits after a certain period,” said the officer from MMRDA.
The energy generated from solar roofs will be mainly used for stations illumination, to run escalators and elevators. The monorail traction requires 24×7 power supply to provide power, it is not feasible to run it on solar energy, said the officer. The entire route of 19.54 kilometres from Jacob Circle–Wadala depot—Chembur was opened for public on March 3.
The commencement of Phase -2 (Jacob Circle -Wadala depot) the ridership has increased crossing profits of Rs 5 lakh every day. Initially with only 8.8kms stretch from Chembur to Wadala Depot was operational barely 10,000 riders would use this monorail. Interestingly on March 10; Sunday the monorail entire phase saw a record break increase in ridership touching more than 30,000 as compared to other days and crossing revenue of over Rs 6.17 lakh.