Waltair Division going green with solar power

Renewable energy set to play a significant role in meeting future energy requirements

Updated - September 20, 2020 09:08 am IST

Published - September 19, 2020 10:57 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Solar panels being erected atop the platform shelters at Visakhapatnam Railway Station.

Solar panels being erected atop the platform shelters at Visakhapatnam Railway Station.

The energy consumption of Indian Railways, which at present stands at 21 billion units annually, is set to rise to 33 billion units by 2030. Solar power is expected to play a significant role in meeting future energy requirements, say officials.

Taking a step in that direction, a 350 KWp solar power plant, being installed at Visakhapatnam Railway Station, is on the verge of completion.

Officials say that had this plant been commissioned a few months ago, the railway station would have won some more points in the ‘Energy Efficiency’ module of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) rankings released recently.

Nonetheless, Visakhapatnam Railway Station bagged the ‘platinum’ rank in the IGBC rankings by securing 82 points out of 100.

“Solar power plants, of 1 MWp each, had been commissioned at the Diesel Electric Shed (DLS), Electric Loco Shed (ELS), the Divisional Railway Manager’s (DRMs) Office and Divisional Railway Hospital buildings, in the first phase in 2018,” according to Senior Divisional Commercial Manager A.K. Tripathi.

A solar plant of 24.38 KWp was commissioned at Araku Railway Station in March this year. Solar power plants of 574.95 KWp are also planned to be set up at Simhachalam, Viziangaram, Srikakulam, Rayagada, Koraput, at Multi Disciplinary Training Centre/Marripalem and New Coaching Complex besides a few other places over Waltair Division, and land-based solar plants are proposed on 71 acres of vacant land at Vadlapudi Railway Colony and at some other places over the Division.

“Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECoR) has already adopted Green Energy module with roof-top solar and land-based solar plants. Apart from making all its stations and colonies illuminated with 100% LED light fittings, various energy saving measures have been initiated in its jurisdiction,” Mr. Tripathi said.

“The solar plant at the railway station was scheduled for commissioning by September 15, but is likely to be delayed by a couple of weeks in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 80% of the work is completed and we expect the remaining work to be over by the month-end,” Station Director Rajgopal told The Hindu .

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s vision is to achieve conversion of Indian Railways to ‘Net zero carbon emission Railways’. The Minister opines that Indian Railways is willing to extend all support to developers for installing solar power plants on Railway’s vacant unencroached land. The developers can construct and maintain boundary walls along the tracks. It would also prevent trespassing on tracks, he said.

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