In its bid to reduce the burden on the power grid, Chennai Metro Rail is exploring the option of solar power for five of its stations on its elevated corridor, according to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

“We may have a production capacity of 200 kilo-watt peak (kWp) in these stations that may be able to take about 10 per cent of our load. As of now, there would be provisions only in the five stations. We are considering installing solar panels on the terraces of those stations,” V. Somasundaram, chief general manager (construction), CMRL, said.

The trains of Chennai Metro Rail have regenerative braking that has the ability to recover 30-35 per cent of energy during braking.

Dr. K. Srinivas Reddy, professor, department of mechanical engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Having solar power is very effective due to their high conversion efficiency. They could consider tapping solar power along the rail tracks of the elevated corridor, too.”

There is a precedent to the use of solar power in Metro Rail projects. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had signed a Power Purchase Agreement with a multinational firm for installing and producing solar power in its stations, and, only in February, a 500 kWp ‘Roof Top Solar Power Plant’ was installed at Dwarka station.

Also, in 2011, United Nations (UN) certified DMRC as the first Metro Rail and rail-based system in the world to receive carbon credits for reducing green house gas emissions and for its attempt to reduce pollution levels in Delhi.