GURUGRAM: Rapid Metro is foraying into green energy generation with the installation of its first set of solar panels at the depot near the station at Sector 54 Chowk. Company sources told TOI they have installed a solar plant with capacity of over 400 kilowatts peak (kWp, a solar energy term), that will produce pollution free solar energy of 1.18 crore units over its lifetime of 25 years. To make sense of the amount of power it will generate, consider that on an average summer day, the power demand for entire Gurugram city is around 200 lakh units.
The privately funded metro rail company said it plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 11,390 metric tonnes, which is equivalent to planting around three lakh trees. It has around 11.7 km-long tracks on which 12 trains ply across 11 stations, spanning parts of new Gurugram. This latest development dovetails with Hareda’s (Haryana Renewable Energy Department) plan to expand solar energy footprint in the city. Hareda officials confirmed they are collecting power generation data to include it in their database. So far, the city’s generation stands at 22 MW.
“In line with the vision of endorsing green mobility and renewable energy, Rapid Metro has gone green by harvesting solar energy. We’ve installed solar panels at our depot near Sector 54 Chowk Rapid Metro station,” the company spokesperson said.
The solar plant was inaugurated on Friday by Rajiv Banga, MD, Rapid Metro Gurugram, and Sanjeev Aggarwal, MD and CEO, Amplus Solar, with whose partnership Rapid Metro completed the project. Officials told TOI that electricity generation from the 1,156 solar panels installed is equivalent to fulfilling the annual energy needs of around 1,000 people. “We’re generating electricity that technically saves 2.5 crore litres of water that would have gone into the generation of such massive amount of power, had we been taking it from a thermal power plant,” the spokesperson added.
“We have a long-term strategy to use renewable sources to power the metro, and are proud that a portion of our energy will come from solar,” said Rajiv Banga. “Our objective is not just to provide an efficient and sustainable mass rapid transit system in Gurugram, but also be environmentally conscious in our energy and power usage.”
Sanjeev Aggarwal said the venture will provide impetus for similar efforts in metro projects of other cities. “Rapid Metro Gurugram has played a key part in mass transportation in the city,” he said. “We’re happy to partner with them on their journey to use clean energy to power it.”
Officials said Rapid Metro already has trains designed with regenerative braking system, in which the train regenerates power while braking by converting kinetic energy of the train into electrical energy, which is then used by the train following it. “With regenerative braking, Rapid Metro trains regenerate 33% of traction power, which has increased to 40% since Phase 2 was opened. Also, LED lights are used in trains and stations to conserve energy. Apart from design features, optimised operation and maintenance practices are also responsible for saving energy,” officials added.