As part of the Indian Railways current drive to tap alternative form of energy to go green, the Mysuru division of the South Western Railway (SWR) will soon have about 20 railway stations fuelled by solar energy. The plan is to install solar panels along the length of the platform roof at these stations which are in the process of being identified and this will help reduce dependence on the local electricity supply companies. The move will entail considerable savings on power bills besides taking giant strides in being eco-friendly.
Atul Gupta, Divisional Railway Manager, told The Hindu that Mysuru division shells out nearly ₹90 lakh per annum towards power bill and with the installation of the roof top solar panels on platforms at least 25% per cent of the power charges could be saved. “Besides cost savings, it will reduce dependence on local power supply companies who can divert power thus saved to industries or domestic consumption. Once we are self-sufficient in power, we will be off the grid to a large extent resulting in reduction of load on them,” Mr. Gupta said.
The work on installation of solar panels on platform roofs at Mysuru and Hassan will be taken up in due course but the remaining stations are in the process of being identified depending on their geographical locations, solar energy potential, and requirements. This is part of the ongoing drive across Indian Railways to tap alternative forms of power and reduce dependence on conventional power generated from coal and hydro, Mr. Gupta added.
Senior Divisional Electrical Engineer Vishwanathan explained that an MoU has been signed with private companies to install, maintain and operate the solar panels at Mysuru and Hassan stations and will be completed by 2017-18. “The remaining stations are in the process of being identified but the project will be completed within the next two years,” he added.
As per the plans, solar panels of 100 kV capacity each will be installed at Mysuru and Hassan and each station is expected to generate about 800 units to 1,000 units of electricity per day on a clear day with bright sunshine. In case of Mysuru, the requirement is 3,000 units per day and will result in an average saving of 25% in power cost.
The solar panels will ensure uninterrupted electricity supply at stations during day time for at least six to eight hours and can power reservation counters, waiting hall, platforms, and so on.
These are in addition to the 15kV solar hybrid plant at Birur station while 60 level crossing gates are also energised by solar power.