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  • Achieving the 1 GW solar target for the Indian Railways:

    • Indian Railways, being a significant consumer of energy resources, it is important to identify cost-effective energy system options with least environmental impacts. Vision 2020 document of the Indian Railways states that a key target is to utilize at least 10% of its energy requirement from renewable sources. Further, in the Rail Budget 2015-16, it has been announced that : “To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it is intended to expand sourcing of Solar Power as part of the Solar Mission of Railways. Further, 1000 MW solar plants will be set up by the developers on Railway/private land and on rooftop of Railway buildings at their own cost with subsidy/viability gap funding support of Ministry of Non- Renewable Energy in next five years. This initiative of the Indian Railways would go a long way in contributing towards India’s 100 GW solar targets under the National Solar Mission. For this purpose Railways plan to use the roof top space available on its buildings, platforms, workshops and spare land which does not have much commercial value otherwise. Recently, in a study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a conservative estimate indicates that this initiative of Indian Railways could reduce cumulative emission up to 45 Mt CO2.

      To ensure that the Indian Railways achieves its 1 GW solar target, three key focus areas identified are financing, modalities of land use for solar, and streamlining of institutional mechanisms. Railways are aiming to use the solar potential available through innovative financing in PPP modes to ensure adequate financing for solar PV projects. With regard to use of vacant land, railways have already identified suitable tracts of land that could be used for setting up of large solar PV projects. For achieving these targets Railways have initiated the process for putting up 50 MW solar units on roof tops of railway buildings by involving all wings to ensure proper coordination and timely implementation.

      Further, to achieve 1000 MW of installed capacity of solar PV as announced in the Rail Budget 2015-16, as part of the Solar Mission of Railways it is planned to install 500 MW of solar units on Roof Tops through Central Finance Assistance (CFA) from MNRE and additional 200 MW through assistance from MNRE under PSU scheme, and balance on vacant land for which feasibility study is being carried out.

  • Journey so far:

    • So far IR has harnessed about 10.5 MWp of solar energy at LC gates, way side Railway stations, solar based street lights,. solar water heaters at training institutes/running rooms/hospitals/rest houses/canteens/base kitchens. Under this drive the main projects executed are:

      • 2MW at Raibarely
      • 1MW on roof top at Katra
      • 30 KWp solar plant at Rail Bhawan
      • 40 KWP each on GM building at SCR, Tirupati station, Ajmer Stn,

      Installation of solar power plant 1 MWp at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway station building:

      Date of issue of NIT01.8.2014
      Date of pening of tender16.09.2014
      Contract value of the workRs. 8.52 crore
      Executing AgencyM/s Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited, Jaipur(PSU)
      Solar PV modules of 250 Wp4000 no.
      Date of Commissionnning 31.03.2015
      Cost benefit
      Generation per annum from solar power plant14,45,000 units ( 4000 to 500 units per month)
      Average annual savings Rs. 1 crore
      Pay back period8.5 years

      Solar PV Panels at Katra Railway station

      Further, Indian Railway is contemplating for setting up of grid connected solar power installations of about 7 MW by providing solar PV modules at 200 stations, 21 administrative buildings and 2000 level crossing gates as a part of green energy initiatives. IR has also envisaged harnessing solar energy by utilizing roof top spaces of Railway stations and other Railway buildings and land, including through PPP mode. Zonal Railway have already identified to provide 50 MWp.

  • Rail Coach Factory Rae Bareli – the Green Factory:

    • 2MW Solar Power Plant installed generating 2.8 million units of electricity annually. First captive Solar Power Plant of IR. Entire factory and Railway Colony is running on solar power.

         2 MW Solar Power Plant - RCF RBL
         2 MW Solar Power Plant - RCF RBL
  • Renewable energy generation wherever possible:

    • Indian Railway has committed itself to the cause of reducing carbon emission by adopting renewable energy on priority. Some of the innovative implementations of use of solar energy generation:

         Hybrid System at Level Crossing Gates
         Hybrid system for lighting at LC Gate at Bhachau station     on Western Railway

         Solar based street light in Railway colonies
         Solar PV Panels at Stations (North Western Railway)

         Solar PV Panels at Stations (North Western Railway)
         1HP Solar Pump Provided at Sri Dungargarh in Bikaner      Division (North Western Railway)

         Solar Water Heater at Running Room, Jaipur
            (North Western Railway)
         Solar Panels at Neemuch Station Building (Roof top)

      The above includes harnessing solar energy in all possible ways like:

      • Grid connected/off grid solar pane provided at Divisional Head Quarters, Zonal headquarters, maintenance depots, sheds and workshops.
      • Solar plus wind hybrid power systems at stations, in addition to the existing power supply to harness the wind and solar energy to the fullest.
      • Solar based water heating system at all railway stations, rest houses, running rooms, hospitals, base-kitchens & other railway premises.
      • Use of solar cooker in Railways Institutes, Training Schools, rest Houses, Running Rooms, Base Kitchen and other Railways premises.

  • Green initiative on Rail coaches:

    • Solar Panels on roof top of Narrow gauge

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach

         Solar PV Panel on Narrow Gauge Coach
         Emergency LED lights IN Narrow Gauge coaches

  • Details of solar panel provided on Narrow Gauge coaches:

    • Railway has provided Solar Panel on roof top of coaches for train lighting system in four narrow gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and fourteen narrow gauge coaches plying on Kalka-Shimla section on trial basis.

      S.N.SOLAR MODIFIED NARROW GUAGE COACHES Kalka-Shimla Section(Ambala Division)24 V PTK-JDNX section(Firozpur Division) 24V PTK-JDNX section(Firozpur Division) 110V
      1Holding of narrow gauge coaches 86 Nos.82 Nos.
      2Nos of coaches modified by provision of Solar Panels on roof. 14 Nos.03 Nos. 01 No.
      3Date of modification. Nov, 2012Jun, 2011 July, 2011
      4Rating of Solar Modules. 2x100Wp16x80 Wp 18x80 Wp
      5Battery Used 24 V / 210 AH One set ( 2.2V x12 nos) 24 V / 210 AH One set ( 2.2V x12 nos) 12 V / 70AH Two sets (12V x9 nos)
      6Rating of Inverter cum Charge controller. 10 A40A 30A
      7Whether Alternator Removed ( 3.0 KW ) YesNo ( Disconnected) Yes
      8Capacity of old batteries 12 x 2 V 24V,210 AH24V,210 AH 24V,210 AH
      9Connected light load per coach 42 Watt(7x6w LED)140 Watt (7x20w FTL) 72 Watt (9 x8w LED)
      10Connected fan load per coach Nil384 Watt (12 x32w) 240 Watt (10 x24w)
      11Connected Laptop charging load per coach NilNil 120 Watt (2 x60w)
      12Total Load 42 Watt524 Watt 432 Watt
      13Battery bank (Additional) 2 x12 V SMF BatteryNil Nil
      IIModification in 2014
      1Nos of coaches modified by provision of Solar Panels on roof. 01 Nos.- -
      2Date of modification. Nov, 2014- -
      3Rating of Solar Modules. 8x35Wp- -
      4Battery Bank - -
      5Rating of Inverter cum Charge controller. 20 A- -
      6Whether Alternator Removed ( 3.0 KW ) Yes- -
      S.N.Parameters Kangra Valley Section, Firozpur Kalka-Shimla Section, Ambala
      1Holding of NG coaches 82 86
      2No. of coaches provided with solar PV units on the roof 3 1 14 1
      3Date of provision Since June, 2011 Since July, 2011 Since Nov, 2012 August, 2014
      4Rating of solar modules 16 x 80Wp 18 x 80Wp 2 x 100Wp 8 x 35Wp
      5Battery used 24V, 210Ah 110V, 70Ah 24V, 210Ah 24V, 210Ah
      6Rating of charge controller 40A 30A 10A 20A
      7No. of solar panels 16 18 2 8
      8Rating of each solar panel 80Wp 80Wp 100Wp 35Wp
      9Coach Load (Summer) 524W 432W 42W 42W
      10Coach Load (Winter) 140W 192W 42W 42W
      11Approx. Cost of system 2.5 Lacs 2.5 Lacs 2.5 Lacs 2.5 Lacs
      12Make of solar panels Tata BP Solar Tata BP Solar Surana Ventures Ltd. CEL
      13Average Power generation (Summer) 12.45 kWh/Day 12.45 kWh/Day 0.8 kWh/Day 1.13 kWh/Day
      14Average Power generation (winter) 9.94 kWh/Day 9.94 kWh/Day 0.6 kWh/Day 0.83 kWh/Day
      15Defects observed - -
      • Battery not being charged fully
      • Upper surface of some of the panels became brittle.
      • Cases of stone hitting on solar modules in 4 coaches
      16Remarks Effective charging of batteries without requiring any external charging.
      1. 50-60% of battery charging.
      2. External charging is required at both ends i.e KLK & SML
      1. 90% of battery charging.
      2. Normally no external charging is required, however external charging is required during cloudy season
         Solar panel on BG Non A/C coaches
         Solar panel at BG Railway coach

      Two Broad Gauge GS coaches are also provided with solar panel on roof top for train lighting on trial basis.

      Railway has decided to provide solar panels on roof top of GS coaches of two day running intercity trains and 50% Narrow gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section for extended trials for one year in all weather conditions.

      Presently electrical power arrangement in rail coaches is either Self Generating (SG) type or End On Generation (EOG) type which consumes fossil fuel and requires high maintenance for under slung fitted generating equipments. Delhi Division has provided Solar PV system for electrical power requirement of light & fan first time in Indian Railways in one broad gauge Non-AC coach GS 20022. The provision of Solar PV will reduce carbon foot prints and requires less maintenance in comparison to existing generating equipments. The coach with Solar PV is running successfully in train service from last 05 months and its performance is found satisfactory.

  • Solar Power on Science Express:

    • Science Express is the first train of its kind in India that is having indigenous solar PV modules on its roof top. Train is sheer manifestation of Make In India as well as Clean India & Green India, ideology of government.

         Solar Panels on the Roof of Science Express

      Indian Railways are committed to use of greener energy and in this process rooftop spaces of one of Non AC BG coaches was also provided with conventional solar panel on experimental basis. This coach has shown that it is possible to feed the almost all the power requirement of a Non ac COACH from solar power during day time and also partly for night time by storing excess solar energy in the batteries. To show case and further work on various this possibilities in this field Science Express has been targeted. This will act as mobile education institute for science aspirants. The name in itself speaks for in depth approach, to touch every possible nuke and corner of Science & Technology. CEL has provided solar panels on three Air Conditioned Coaches in Science Express using its solar expertise. It has also used indigenous flexible PV modules on roof of one coach of this train, in a record time.

         Solar Panels on the Roof of Science Express
         Solar Panels on the Roof of Science Express

      In Science Express Modules are mounted on the roof top of coaches using adhesives. Adhesive used is Polyurethane Adhesive Sealant 560 for high strength bonding that can replace rivets and mechanical fasteners. It can withstand UV rays for long time. Further the tape "3M Extreme Sealing" is also used for double protection. The tape is abrasion resistance and has excellent adhesive properties.

      Here, in each coach different type of technology has been used. These technologies have reduced the weight by 80%. These are all flexible solar panels. In this process Central Electronics Ltd. (CEL), a PSU with Min of Science and Technology has taken lead and specially designed and produced flexible Solar Photovoltaic modules- for use on the Science Express under the “Make in India” initiative. One of three coaches has been provided with India made flexible solar panels. This is the first time that Flexible PV modules have been produced in the country. Approximately 3 KWp Solar Photo Voltaic Power plant has been installed on the roof top of the coach. They supply electricity to the utility grid using Inverter. The output power of the Inverter is synchronized with LT side (415V, 3 phase). These plants operate automatically and are controlled by a microprocessor-based control system.

         Science express with solar panel on its roof top
         Solar Panel in the Window of Science Express

      Reliability of any plant is mostly depending on the configuration and functioning of inverter; interfaces of the inverter with grid and the way in which the inverter detects the islanding situations, in the case of grid failures for taking corrective actions for isolation from the grid. The Power Conditioning Unit / Inverter provides AC power to the specified grid with an obje ctive to reduce the dependency on conventional power as well as to minimize the consumption of fossil fuel (e.g. diesel). The Power Conditioning unit mainly comprises of MPPT, and an inverter. The high efficiency inverter converts the DC power available from the Array into AC, by incorporating IGBT devices for power conversion. The microprocessor controlled inverter incorporates MPPT technology and incorporates all the desired safety features.

      All the measures for the safety have also been taken into consideration. Roof top wires are concealed under the long life tapes. Further these wires are sheated under flexible conduits inside the coach. Different levels of isolations are provided at different steps. Fuse cut offs are provided inside the junction boxes and MCBs are provided just outside at the doorstep of AC outputs and near RMPU's LT panel.

  • Future planning:

      • Policy initiatives & intervention taken to harness green energy resources and implementing energy conservation measures have yielded fruitful results.

      Indian Railway is contemplating for setting up of grid connected solar power installations of about 7 MW with subsidy Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE)by providing solar PV modules at 200 stations, 21 administrative buildings and 2000 level crossing gates as a part of green energy initiatives. IR has also envisaged to harness solar energy by utilizing roof top spaces of Railway stations and other Railway buildings and land, including through PPP mode. Zonal Railway have identified to provide 50 MWp on roof tops of Railway buildings with VGF from MNRE.

      MNRE has accorded in-principle approval for installation of grid connected solar power plant of 500 MWp capacity for roof top projects in the major buildings of Railways with estimated CFA of Rs. 540 crore (15% of the benchmark cost of Rs. 8.0 crore per MWp i.e. Rs. 1.20 crore per MWp likely to b revised) for installation of grid connected roof top projects. For taking up co-operation with MNRE, SECI etc, an MoU has been signed with MNRE.

      In the presence of Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways and Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) were signed between Ministry of Railways (MOR) and Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE)for co-operation in the Renewable Energy to bring in a change in the energy mix & Solarization of Railways 0n 12.08.2015. ( MOU between MNRE and MOR signed between Shri Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE and Shri Sudhir Garg, ED(EEM)/Railway Board).

      The main features of the MOU are:
      • MNRE and MoR will consult with each other, whenever it may be appropriate and necessary, on the matters covered by this Memorandum and will use their best endeavors to ensure that employees and other staff of both the organizations cooperate in good faith with one another.
      • Both Parties should apprise/ keep each other informed on project related matters. If any issue or dispute arises between MNRE and Indian Railways, they will use their best endeavors to resolve the dispute promptly and amicably.
      • MoR and “MNRE” shall provide the requisite statutory support wherever required to the JV/JVCs to ensure expeditious completion and commissioning of the Projects.
      • SECI, a PSU of MNRE, jointly with MoR or its agencies will carry out preliminary activities like surveys, preparation of feasibility/bank ability report to establish the project cost, requirement of land, other project related requirements and viability of the Projects etc. including finalization of location as and when requested by MoR. MNRE/SECI may meet this cost if the same is permitted under existing schemes. If not, cost will be met by MoR.
      • MNRE or its PSU shall take necessary steps for the formation of the SPVs/JVCs in consultation with MoR or its PSU as and when requested by MoR. The expenditure on formation of the JV/JVCs shall be funded as mutually agreed in the JV agreement.
      • MNRE will facilitate MOR in arranging funds from multilateral bodies for funding of Renewable energy projects and also extend Central Financial assistance whenever available.

  • Harnessing Solar Energy of 50 MWp on rooftop of Zonal Railways with CFA from MNRE:

    • Since the roof space of Railway building is to be utilised for installation of roof top based solar power unit these entire project should be implemented by Zonal Railways by calling tariff based open bidding.

      As per the provision of MNRE guidelines on business models for grid connected roof top, (Para 7.0(b)(i) of 30/11/2012-13/NSN dated 26.06.2014 )) for solar installations, operation and maintenance by third party for a captive generated plant, the third party will implement the facility at the roof of the consumer and consumer may not invest as equity and the third party may also make arrangements for undertaking and maintenance of the facility and the power will be sold to the roof owner.

      Railways have indicated much larger spaces, however since the capacity, the same has been distributed among the Railways ranging from 1 MW to 5 MW depending upon the areas indicated by them. Railway should ensure that to get benefit of scale each project should preferably be of 1 MWp, but not less than of 500 KWp. In a project more than one sites/locations can be clubbed, however, no single location should be less than 50 KWp capacity.

      The available roof top space with Zonal Railways
      Railway Available roof top space (in sq. m)
      ECR 68777
      Metro Kolkata17035
      RE/ Allahabad6773
      1. These projects are to be implemented by Zonal Railways based on tariff based open bidding where in Railways will provide roof top of Railway buildings/ Railway stations/station platform sheds/workshop sheds or any other suitable roof top space for solar units and the developer will invest money for putting up the solar unit. On successful implementation of the project the developer can claim 15% of the bench mark cost/the project cost from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy(MNRE) whichever is lesser (subsidy as per benchmark cost is 1.2 crore i.e. taking project cost as Rs. 8.0 Cr./MWp through one co-ordinating Railway.
      2. Zonal Railway will sign Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 25 years with the developer offering lowest per unit power cost which shall remain fixed for next 25 years through open bidding process. The developer should be responsible for maintenance of the complete system. For this purpose of obtaining VGF the cost of the total system also shall be indicated by the developer.
      3. Zonal Railway have been allocated capacities varying from 1 MWp to 5 MW as shown in the table given below.
        SN RLY Solar plant capacity allocated in MWp Co-ordinating Railways for subsidy disbursement
        1 NR 5 NR
        2 NCR 1
        3 NER 2
        4 NWR 1
        5 DLW 2
        6 RCF 2
        7 DLMW/PTA 2
        SUB TOTAL 14
        8 SCR 4 CR
        9 CR 4
        10 WCR 3
        11 SECR 1
        12 WR 4
        SUB TOTAL 16
        13 SR 4 SR
        14 SWR 1
        15 RWF 2
        16 ICF 2
        SUB TOTAL 9
        17 SER 2 SER
        18 ER 2
        19 NFR 2
        20 ECR 1
        21 CLW 1
        22 Dankuni W/S 2
        SUB TOTAL 11
        TOTAL 50
      4. However, to get cheaper power tariff it is required that each project should have sufficient capacity. From this point of view capacity of each project should normally be 1 MWp, however it should not be less that 500 KWp. In a project more than one sites can be clubbed together to get combine capacity of 1 MWp/500 KWp as the case may be. However, it should be ensured that single installation in a project of 1 MWp/500 KWp should not be less than 50 KWp.
      5. The complete power will be purchased by the Railways and a long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 25 years will be signed by Zonal Railways for a fixed per unit rate of power as arrived in the open bidding process, with the developer offering lowest rate.
  • Initiatives by Zonal Railways:

    • North Western Railway

      4x10 kWp Solar PV Power Plant at Ajmer Railway Station (North Western Railway) (Corporate Social Responsibility, CONCOR)

      An MoU has been signed between Jaipur Division of North Western Railway and CONCOR for providing (i) 50 kwP grid tied solar power plant at Rewari Railway station & (ii) 50 kwP grid tied solar power plant AT Rewari Railway station under CSR project. This work will be executed by CEL through funds to be provided CONCOR. CEL shall also manage and arrange for necessary infrastructure and assistance required from Railways for the effective e importance of the Project.