The Indian Railways is working on an arrangement where it can use Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd (RUMS) as a power bank so that it can access 10 mega watt solar power throughout the day. The solar power banking facility is being worked out to meet the traction requirement, or running trains, and the tariffs for the same are being negotiated. RUMS is a joint venture of Solar Energy Corporation of India and the Madhya Pradesh government. The solar power banking facility is being worked out to meet the traction requirement, or running trains, and the tariffs for the same are being negotiated. RUMS is a joint venture between the Solar Energy Corporation of India and the Madhya Pradesh government. “About 50 MW electricity generated by solar is equivalent to 10 MW by thermal units. Instead of having 10 MW for six hours, we are trying to use solar power through the day,” said an official. adding that “it is up to RUMs to decide how they provide the banking facility.”
This can be done either through a mix of solar and thermal storage, or through renewable energy certificates, to increase the component of clean energy that is consumed.
Technically, it is possible to feed power directly to the traction or overhead electricity lines of trains, thus bypassing the grid and it has been done in the UK by Network Rail, according to a report by Council of Energy Environment and Water (CEEW), funded by UNDP.
Their renewable traction energy team found a solution by connecting solar panels directly with the traction electricity lines, thus bypassing the grid.
In Italy, Green Rail has been involved in innovative sleepers for railways and has recently developed Green Rail Solar, wherein the track sleepers are equipped with a solar photovoltaic module that can generate up to 150 kWh of solar energy for every track km. This can provide energy to the railway station or the grid, said the report.
Another country integrating renewable energy into running trains is Chile, where Santiago Metro will run on 42 per cent of solar energy from a 100 MW project being set up by SunPower and Total, it said.
Recently, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation signed three power purchase agreements for 25 years with RUMS, Solar Power Developers (Mahindra, ACME Solar and Solenergi) and Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Ltd.