India's first solar-powered Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) coach was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu from the Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi. The country's first country's first 1,600-horsepower DEMU coach is equipped with solar-powered hotel load system installed and commissioned by Jakson Engineers Limited.
According to the official statement, the installed solar rooftop system will generate 7,200 kilowatts (KW) of energy per year that will be used for powering internal lights, fans and other electrical systems of the coach. The project will help offset carbon emissions by 9 tonnes per coach per year and also save about 21,000 litres of diesel for a solar-powered DEMU with six trailer coaches, thereby, saving Rs 12 lakh every year.
Hotel load system is the electrical load caused by all systems on a vehicle, especially a marine vessel or a truck, other than propulsion.
Jakson was awarded this project by the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF), a unit of Indian Railways that works to promote bio-diesels and other environmentally benign alternative fuels for India's rail network.
(Photo courtesy: Twitter/@RailMinIndia)A total of 16 solar panels of 300 watts at peak capacity (Wp), manufactured by Jakson at its solar module manufacturing plant in Greater Noida power, have been installed on the roof of the coach to generate the requisite power.
"It is not an easy task to fit solar panels on the roof of train coaches that run at a speed of 80 km per hour. Our engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of this rooftop solar project for the Indian Railways," said Sundeep Gupta, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, Jakson Engineers Limited.
This is the first instance involving the installation of a solar rooftop system in a diesel-run passenger train with a battery backup.
The system is capable of developing up to 20 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per day throughout the year, the statement said.
Journalists check out the battery panel of a DEMU train at the Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTIThe surplus power generated during peak hours will be stored in a battery system. It will help in generating useful data for research for adapting the system for a future rollout on all trains operated by the Indian Railways. The system has an anti-theft mechanism as well that can operate in trains running at a speed of more than 100 km/hr, the statement added.
In March, Prabhu had said the Indian Railways aimed to save Rs 41,000 crore on electricity expenses by switching to solar energy over the next 10 years. The ministry had prepared ‘Mission 41K’ to save electricity consumption charges by betting big on solar energy.
The minister had said efforts were on to mop up Rs 17,000 crore through non-fare revenue modes and bring down energy consumption by 15 per cent.
Prabhu said the reduction in power consumption had saved Rs 4,000 crore and Rs 41,000 crore would be saved by generating 1,000 Mw of solar power in the next five years.