India’s First Solar-Powered Train Launched
Usage of solar panels to provide energy for electric trains can make a great sense given the demand and peak generation. Electric trains whose power is created with the help of renewable sources like wind or solar have recently become the best transport for long distance in many countries.
The expert solar panel reviewing center paid attention to recent news about Indian Railways, which have launched the first DEMU solar train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi on the 14th of July.
This solar train will travel from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. Altogether there are 16 solar panels placed in six coaches that produce 300 Wp each.
Solar Panels Used as Grid
These solar trains in India are manufactured under the initiative of “Make in India” company. According to them, these panels cost Rs 54 lakh. The most interesting fact is that it is the first time that solar-powered panels are set up as a grid in the railways.
Now the train will be able to run on a battery for more than 72 hours straight. Earlier this year, a solar energy company from the UK started to concentrate on ways to generate solar power directly for consumption instead of exporting it to the grid.
In Britain, there were problems with high tariffs and the impossibility to plug in any solar panels without having to pay large bills for the local network reinforcement costs. The situation with a solar train in India is different. However, it is important to mention solar energy is perfect to save on energy bills.
The Future of Solar Trains
The lighting system in every coach is enabled by the solar panels that create about 17 units of power on a daily basis. At the moment Indian Railways are planning to set up these panels just for non-AC coaches.
The Indian Railways are going to continue this process and plan to introduce about 50 new coaches in the nearest future. First, the urban trains will be introduced with solar energy, and in a few years, the long-distance trains will too.
Why Trains and Solar Power Are a Perfect Match
There are obvious benefits of switching from cars to trains so that we can borrow this idea and implement it in our countries as well. Trains carry more people and can help save the environment and reduce the climate change.
However, in countries such as the United Kingdom where electrical grids are old and established long time ago, the whole system is set up for huge power plants to create a predictable and controllable amount of power.
These facts support the recent UK research claiming that soon all trains will be powered by solar energy.
The railways are planning to save Rs 672 crore every year by decreasing the costs by 1.2 lakh kilo liter of diesel. More than that, the solar energy will help reduce emissions of 2.7 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
Making Use of Roof-Top Space
The Indian Railways suggest generating solar power by making use of the roof-top space of the railway buildings, railway stations, and their land through the PPP mode the modalities of which they are working out now.
The company is going to create 1000 MW of solar energy over the period of the next few years. The workers have taken steps to set up solar plants at the rooftops of the railway buildings and level crossings all over the country.