India’s First Solar-Powered Train Is Launched In Delhi & There Are More To Come!

India’s First Solar-Powered Train Is Launched In Delhi & There Are More To Come!
Vijay Verma/PTI via Rediff

India is, slowly but surely, becoming increasingly aware of its solar power capacity. In three years, from 2014 to 2017, the country quadrupled its solar-generation capacity, and with the launch of its first train with solar-powered coaches, India has taken a giant leap forward in the solar sector.

The solar DEMU (Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit) train, from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farrukhnagar in Gurgaon, is an important achievement towards a more sustainable, greener India. Although the coach is non-AC, it is wholly lit by solar panels installed on the train’s roof, and aids in the working of fans and the information display system within the train. In total, the cost of powering the coach with solar energy added up to about INR 3.90 lakh. Every year, the railways will save INR 1.24 lakh that it would have otherwise spent on power. The solar panels generate close to 17 units of power a day, running the train at a speed of 110 km per hour for a one-and-a-half hour journey.

The Indian railway industry isn’t planning on stopping here – it reportedly aims to procure 1000 MV of solar power in the next five years. They also plan on introducing bio-toilets, waste disposal and recycling methods, and the harnessing of wind energy in their train soon. Panels have also been placed atop two more narrow-gauge trains, on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar route and the Kalka-Shimla route, as a trial. Solar power plants of 8.8 MV are likely to be established at railways stations and office buildings. This turn away from diesel-supplied power and towards a greener method will greatly reduce the railway sector’s dependence on fossil fuels and aid in India’s cleaner, more sustainable development.

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