Indian Railways invite bids for land-based solar power plants near traction substations

Surabhi | Updated on: Jul 22, 2022
PTI 

PTI 

Objective is to minimise the use of coal and electricity from thermal power plants, said a Railway official

With an eye on harnessing solar power for its network of trains, the Indian Railways has invited bids for setting up land-based solar power plants near the traction substations across the country.

REMC, which is a joint venture of Indian Railways and RITES, has invited tenders for this project near the traction substation (TSS) at 25 kV connectivity under a tariff-based competitive bidding.

“With the vision of becoming green transporter with zero carbon emission, Indian Railways has envisioned to implement 30 GW of renewable energy power plants by 2030,” the document said.

Several initiatives in progress

According to a railway official, there are about 553 such TSS across the country in the 16 railway zones, where these land-based solar power plants will be set up.

“The objective is to minimise the use of coal and electricity from thermal power plants. If Railways has its own power plant for renewable energy, trains can run using this traction power,” he explained, adding that various other initiatives are also being undertaken to meet traction and non-traction power requirement of Railways through solar power.

At present, rooftop solar panels have been installed across several railway stations in the country to help meet their energy requirements.

The Moore Market Complex suburban station adjacent to the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR Chennai Central railway station with the solar panels on the rooftop of the platforms (B Jothi Ramalingam/The Hindu)

The Moore Market Complex suburban station adjacent to the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR Chennai Central railway station with the solar panels on the rooftop of the platforms (B Jothi Ramalingam/The Hindu)

Overall, Indian Railways plans to harness about 500 MW of land-based solar power for traction purposes. For this purpose, it commissioned two pilot projects of 2 MW and 1.7 MW at Diwana in Haryana and Bina in Madhya Pradesh. A 50 MW solar power at Bhilai is likely to be completed later this year.

“Indian Railways is engaged in the business of running freight and passenger train services in the country. Presently, Railways is taking power as a deemed licensee in many States,” the bid document said.

Accordingly, Railways endeavour to source solar power by establishing solar plants on private and farmers' land near TSS through “Tariff Based Competitive Bidding” to utilise renewable energy as well as to meet its Solar Purchase Obligations, it further said.

Bidding deadline

The Scheduled Commissioning Date (SCD) for the commissioning of the full capacity of the project will be 18 months from when the power purchase agreement (PPA) is signed, the bid document said.

The PPA, which will be signed by the zonal railways and the selected bidders, will be valid for 25 years. The deadline for submission of bids is September 13, 2022. The solar power developers will set up the solar PV projects on a ‘Build Own Operate’ basis.

The responsibility of getting connectivity with the transmission system owned by the Railway Traction System will be of the developer, the bid document noted. The declared annual capacity utilisation factor (CUF) will be no less than 17 per cent.

Published on July 22, 2022
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