Solar energy could be used to drive every fourth train in India in the future.

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Picture: Indian Railways

According to a study conducted by the Indian NGO Climate Trends and the British startup in the field of green technologies Riding Sunbeams, direct supply of solar energy for the Indian Railways, bypassing the national grid, would get rid of almost 7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of the city of Kanpur, and at the same time provide traction for every fourth train.

The Ministry of Railways to implement the national plan Net Zero recommended that the IR decide on the choice of large plots of land in order to place solar power plants there. This was reported by Railway Supply magazine citing Zdmira.

Currently, there are production plans for rail transport of solar energy in the amount of up to 20 GW. According to research, almost a quarter of all solar energy received (5272 GW) can be sent directly to the railway traction power supply system.

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The demand for traction of each of the regional railways of the country was analyzed, as well as an assessment of the potential of solar energy production capacity in the respective regions was given.

There are five railways with the highest potential in terms of solar energy:

  • South Central (394 – 625 MW) – the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, as well as part of the state of Karnataka and the federal territory of Puducherry;
  • Central (299 – 475 MW) — Maharashtra;
  • Northern (290 – 459 MW) – the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, as well as the capital district of Delhi;
  • Western (280 – 443 MW) – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh;
  • West Central (278 – 440 MW) – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.

It is assumed that all energy will be used for the needs of the railways, and there are no plans to accumulate it. In the future, it is planned to increase the share of solar energy in the traction of trains on the Indian railways to 40% or more, but a necessary condition for this is the low cost of production and storage of this type of energy.


India: Solar energy for the needs of rail transport

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