Indian Railways will float tenders to procure at least 200 mega watt of solar energy in the next two months, a step which will promote use of non-conventional energy in its daily functioning.
Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Kumar Sinha said the Centre is presently working out details of the plan.
The tender is part of Railways’ plan to procure 1000 mega watt of solar energy over the next five years.
"We have fixed a target of procuring 1000 mega watt solar power in the whole Indian Railways. We are working on it. We are going to float a tender for at least 200 mega watts in next two moths. We have plenty of rooftops available in Indian Railways (to install the panels)," he said.
The Ministry has commissioned one mega watt solar power plant – the largest such project in the country till now – at Katra Railway station in Jammu and Kashmir on March 30 this year.
"This initiative was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instructions during inauguration of the Udhampur-Katra section of Kashmir Rail Link Project," a senior Northern Railway official said.
Railways proposes to harness solar energy by utilising rooftop space through public private partnership (PPP) mode as per feasibility, the modalities of which are being worked out.
According to the plan, Railways plans to install solar power plants of about 8.8 MW capacity at railway stations, railway office buildings and level crossing gates throughout the country under railway funding.
These include provision of 10 KWp solar PV modules each at 200 stations under various Zonal Railways, provision of total 4.05 MWp Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) at roof top of 21 railway office buildings and provision of total 1.3 MWp capacity Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) plants at 2000 Level Crossing gates on Indian railways.
The generation of solar supply will help railways supply power at remote locations and save in diesel due to reduced running of diesel generators, officials said.
Recently, the Railways rolled out a non-AC coach of Rewari-Sitapur passenger train lit by solar panels installed on its roof.