Indian Railways plans 1 GW solar power by 2020-21

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As part of the Go Green Initiative, Indian Railways has already installed about 71.19 MW of rooftop PV at railways stations and service buildings. Wind turbines with a capacity of 36.5 MW have also been installed, out of which 26 MW at Jaisalmer was installed in 2015-16. The Indian Minister of State of Railways, Rajen Gohain, announced the achievement while speaking in Lok Sabha recently.

Building on this achievement, Indian Railways is planning to add solar panels to the rooftops of its rolling stock. It has already installed solar panels on the rooftops of 19 narrow-gauge coaches and 23 broad-gauge non-air conditioned coaches in service.

The rooftop solar systems provide power for around four to five hours, charging battery systems during this time. The systems do not work at full capacity during fog/rain and in the winter season, while battery backup goes down to two to three hours depending upon weather conditions.

“Railways will provide solar panels on the rooftop of general coaches of two day-running intercity trains in Northern and Southern Railway and 50% Narrow Gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section of Northern Railway for conducting extended trials for one year in all weather conditions,” the minister added.

The government of India is encouraging cash-rich public sector undertakings to set up renewable energy projects. Overall, Indian Railways has committed to developing 5 GW of solar power by 2025.