Indian Railways—the nation’s largest electricity consumer, with 2.4% of total consumption, and the third largest high-speed diesel user, with 2.6 billion liters consumed annually—has solarised more than 960 stations till date as it aims to become a net-zero carbon emitter before 2030. Orders have been placed for 198 MW solar rooftop capacity for 550 stations, which is under execution.
Notably, Indian Railways plans to install 500 MW of rooftop solar generation capacity by 2021-22.
Some of the Stations solarised are Varanasi, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Jaipur, Secunderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad, and Howrah.
‘20 GW by 2030’ on land
Indian Railways plans to install an aggregate 20 GW solar capacity over its vacant land as it aims to meet all of its energy needs of more than 33 billion units by 2030 through solar power. The current annual requirement is about 20 billion units.
“About 51,000-hectare vacant land is available with Indian Railways, and it is now ready to extend all support to the developers for installing solar power plants on Railway’s vacant un-encroached land”—read a statement by the Railways ministry.
It may be noted that Railways is also set to achieve 100% electrification by the year 2023 and is committed to utilize solar energy for meeting its traction power requirement.
To begin with, 3 GW solar projects on vacant plots along the railway tracks have already been tendered by Railway Energy Management Company Ltd (REMCL), a joint venture created by Indian Railways and engineering consultancy Rites Ltd.
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