1. India’s ‘first solar-powered train’: All you want to know about Indian Railways’ green initiative

India’s ‘first solar-powered train’: All you want to know about Indian Railways’ green initiative

The solar-panel powered train will be tested on the Jodhpur division of the North Western Railways.

By: | Updated: May 26, 2016 3:38 PM
solar-power train, Indian Railways The DEMU solar-powered train which is being used for the trial run has six coaches, with each coach fitted with twelve solar panels. (NW Railways image)

With Indian Railways aggressively focusing on renewable energy, India’s first solar panel-fitted train is all set to commence trial runs shortly. What makes this trial run special is that all coaches of the train would be lit from power generated by the rooftop solar panels.

Last year, Northern Railways had fitted one coach of the Rewari-Sitapur broad gauge passenger train with solar panels. However, this would be the first DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) broad gauge train, in which all coaches have solar panels, says Railways. Solar panel fitted coaches already run on narrow-gauge trains plying on Pathankot-Jogindernagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section.

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The solar-panel powered train will be tested on the Jodhpur division of the North Western Railways. The DEMU train which is being used for the trial run has six coaches, with each coach fitted with twelve solar panels.

solar-power train, Indian Railways The DEMU solar-powered train which is being used for the trial run has six coaches, with each coach fitted with twelve solar panels. (NW Railways image)

Each solar panel will generate 300 watt of electricity, which means 3.6KW of power per coach. This, the Indian Railways says will be enough to provide electricity for lights and fans inside the coach. However, enough power would not be generated to run air-conditioners.  (Don’t miss out! Stunning images of Talgo high-speed trains for Delhi-Mumbai route)

Is Railways planning to run ACs on solar power in future? That remains to be seen, says Tarun Jain, the Chief Public Relations Officer of North Western Railways. “We will begin trials of this solar-panel fitted train shortly. We are awaiting some final clearances. After intensive trials, we will be able to gauge the performance of the solar panels. Only then any decision on scaling up the scope of the solar panels can be taken,” Jain told FE Online.

solar train Last year, Northern Railways had fitted one coach of the Rewari-Sitapur broad gauge passenger train with solar panels. (Northern Railways image)

The solar train is not the only green initiative taken by the Indian Railways. Last year, Indian Railways had introduced India’s first CNG DEMU train on the Rewari-Rohtak section of Northern Railways. The DEMU train runs on dual fuel system – CNG and diesel. Railways have modified the 1,400 HP engine to run on dual fuel – diesel and CNG – through fumigation technology.

CNG train India’s first CNG DEMU train. (Northern Railways image)

The train comprising of two power cars and six car coaches has been manufactured by Integral Coach Factory at Chennai with the CNG conversion kit being supplied by Cummins. (Also check: Railways goes innovative with automatic track laying machines for the first time)

Also, a 1 megawatt solar power plant was set up at Katra station in 2015, a move that can save up to Rs 1 crore annually on energy bills. This is the biggest rooftop solar plant built in Jammu and Kashmir and the largest solar power plant built by Indian Railways.

solar plant Katra Solar power plant at Katra station. (Northern Railways image)
  1. P
    PRABU
    Jan 30, 2017 at 4:59 pm
    why the panel is ed with bolts ???? instead of it , we can paste a portable ( wearable ) panel in the top layer of the coach to increse power and reduce the maintenance cost as well as paint cost welding or bolt cost !!!!
    Reply
    1. A
      A.Akshitha
      May 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm
      Excellent achievement. Now we can save power no so...But how it moves in unsunny days? How long it will store the solar energy for working?
      Reply
      1. V
        Venkatachari Narasimhan
        May 25, 2016 at 11:41 am
        Very good idea and Indian railways should promote this in a bigger way. We are really happy, if all our trains run on solar power. We get sun almost 300 days in a year. So it's easy for us to develop trains run on solar power. Irrespective of the cost, the railways has to change all our trains to run on solar power. Out of that railways can save enormous electric power and that power can be utilised for some other industrial purposes. Utltimately, industry also would grow. One stone two benefits
        Reply
        1. J
          Jay
          May 25, 2016 at 5:31 am
          EVERY KILO WATT OF SOLAR POWER GENERATED RESULTS IN A TON OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE SAVING FOR OUR NATION IN IMPORTING OIL, AND CARBON POLLUTANT EMISSIONS.
          Reply
          1. J
            JoeKidd
            May 30, 2016 at 5:32 am
            "The solar panels generate about 17 units of power in a day which enables the lighting system in the coach." So let people understand that the electricity generated is quite minimal. Based on the Govt figures, it takes about 4 years to break even. Also there is not much talk about additional recurring costs.What comes to your mind when you see the term "solar powered car"? A car that runs primarily on solar power.What does the Govt what you to think when you hear the term "solar powered trains"?Now you can understand the lies and deceit.
            Reply
            1. R
              rup das
              May 30, 2016 at 9:09 am
              In unsunny days; the train qill get the power from its battery storage as daily it is producing 3600 watt in each coach which is more then enough !! . Regards Rup Das
              Reply
              1. Z
                zest
                Jun 1, 2016 at 8:05 am
                Half knowledge is dangerous. Keep dreaming.
                Reply
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