ICF to begin data collection trial on solar-powered coach

June 10, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 08:03 am IST - Chennai:

India’s push for solar-powered trains is gaining steam with the Integral Coach Factory getting ready to undertake data collection trials on a solar-powered coach on various terrain and under different weather conditions.

 Last week, the Railways rolled out its first solar panel-enabled coach that generates about 17 units of power in a day to enable lighting system in the coach on the Rewari-Sitapur passenger train. The department has plans to generate about 1,000 MW in the next five years.

 “We will begin data collection trials in a week or 10 days on one coach which will be solar-powered. We are looking at the amount of power generation under various terrain and weather conditions… how much power is generated during sunny weather, rain and cloudy weather conditions,” an official at ICF told The Hindu.

 ICF, which is working with the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore, for trials, is likely to test the solar coach first on the Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore route.

 The 3-tier coach will not carry passengers and will only be for trial purposes. ICF hopes to undertake trials for about a month, which will provide enough data to identify power requirements for a solar coach, the official said.

 While the ICF has provided the coach, IISC has provided solar panels and a data logging equipment which will collect the data. IISC will also do scientific evaluation of the data, according to the official.

Once the data is evaluated, it would provide enough information for the Railways to ascertain the viability of solar-powered trains and the investment required for the project. The department is pushing for using solar energy to reduce its power requirements from the grid and dependence on fossil fuels like coal. 

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