Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday launched the Railways’ first set of solar plants with a total capacity of 5 megawatt peak (MWp) in the Capital, an ambitious project aimed at reducing the national transporter’s carbon footprint.

The project is part of the government’s National Solar Mission in which the Railways plans to commission 1,000 MWp solar plants across its network.

The Minister launched the plants at the inauguration of the ‘International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification’ here.

“We are working in a time-bound manner to skillfully and effectively transform the Indian Railways into a world class transporter. We shall be able to accomplish 100 per cent electrification at lower prices with an incentive-cum-penalty scheme,” he said, adding that all payments of the Railways would be done within a span of 30 days.

Savings for Rlys

The plants on the rooftops of Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Anand Vihar and Delhi railway stations will generate 76.5 lakh units of solar power cumulatively per year, and shall meet about 30 per cent of the energy requirement of these stations.

Through the project, the Railways will save ₹421.4 lakh annually and will reduce 6,082 tonnes of CO2 emissions. As part of its green initiatives, the Railways is also looking to increase the share of renewable energy to help India achieve lower emission reduction target by striking a right balance in renewable, thermal, diesel fuel usage.

While diesel locomotives lead to pollution, there is also need to look at the pollution caused by thermal power. What is the ideal situation, hopefully the experts will decide, said Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways, in the conference.

Sinha had earlier pointed out that the Varanasi engine factory was already moving toward increasingly produce electric locomotives.

Step-up in electric locos

The Railways have decided to sharply step up production of electric engines at all its facilities including CLW, DLW, DMW, and is also looking to rope in BHEL. Moreover, the Madhepura unit of Alstom will also start supplying engines.

Goyal also hoped that the charges for electrification of overhead electric lines would be lowered by at least a fifth after an increase in order size.

On the capacity to increase and meet higher targets of electrification, he said there would be online bidding, standardisation of designs, and vendors would be paid online within a month. Railways was also willing to open up letter of credit in order to get the work done, the Minister added.

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