There is a visible dramatic upsurge in demand for renewable energy. Various markets are shifting away from fossil fuels. The falling cost of renewables has been strengthening the business case for switching. As clean energy costs continue to plummet globally, and business leaders are becoming ever more aware of the risks of a high-carbon business model, it’s clear that renewable power is the future for global business. The Indian Railways does not want to lag behind.
As part of green energy initiatives of the Southern Railway, its Salem Division has started tapping renewable energy successfully by placing solar panels on the roofs of the six ‘Go Green’ coaches of Jan Shatabdi Express between Coimbatore and Mayiladuthurai. The solar panels have been mounted on a specially designed metallic structure to withstand high wind velocity, vibration and shock during train movement. These are south India’s first solar panel fitted coaches.
This is what all leading multinationals should be doing.
With a view to reducing the dependence on conventional sources of energy, the railways has spent Rs 15.20 lakh for placing 4.8 kwp solar panels on six coaches.
20 units of solar power used for operating 56 lights and 34 fans are thus available. This initiative would help the railways save nearly 1700 litres of diesel per annum per coach. The carbon footage would be reduced by nearly 4.5 tonnes per coach per annum. However, the existing conventional lights in the coaches need to be changed to LED lights.
A Delhi-based private contractor commenced the work on May 29 and completed it a month ago. This has also helped reduce maintenance works. In the absence of solar energy, supply to the coach is catered by the conventional alternator/battery through a charge controller. According to southern railways’ assessment, “110 volt battery and alternator would get more life. We used to change batteries once in four years. However, we can now extend the lives of the batteries and the alternator by a few more years.”