Clean Tech

Training the sun on the metro

Preeti Mehra | Updated on January 22, 2018



Delhi Metro and SunEdison join hands in a solar initiative

You may not own the sun, but you can make it work for you. That could very well be the motto of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as it consciously inches forward to achieve new milestones in its solar mission.

Last week it opened its new 13.875 km long Badarpur-Escorts Mujesar Metro (Faridabad) corridor with eight elevated railway stations that sported solar panels on their rooftops, adding up to a total installed capacity of 1.9 MW on the route. 

“The project was executed in around 50 days. This is the first railway line in the world which has an inbuilt solar infrastructure. Solar has been integrated into the design of the buildings,” says Pashupathy Gopalan who is SunEdison's President of Asia-Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa, the global renewable energy firm that commissioned the power systems.

Apart from this asset, the company is also working on another 1.7 MW rooftop system at the Yamuna Bank station and train yard.

“Yes, we will maintain the solar panels. This is our asset and we are committed to providing a service to DMRC which is the purchaser of the power generated. It is connected to their distribution system,” explains Gopalan, dispelling the common notion that the rooftop panels also help power the metro rail itself. The power generated through the panels will be used for lighting and other auxiliary requirements of the station and depot buildings, helping the DMRC to ramp up its clean energy target of 50 MW solar rooftop power capacity across its stations in and around the National Capital Region of Delhi. For back up purposes, the DMRC will stick to power pooled from the grid. The solar power plants have been installed under the RESCO (Renewable Energy Supply Company) Model, where the capital cost is invested by the solar developer, while the user, DMRC in this case, has signed a power purchase agreement for 25 years. 

This means that DMRC only pays energy charges for the actual energy generated and used, with current tariffs at around ₹6 per unit.

Good track record

The Railway utility already has a green track record, with several awards to its credit. On the new line it has also developed the power Receiving Sub Station as a green building with a 50 kWp solar plant, rain water harvesting and wet land sewage treatment plant facilities.

According to SunEdison, the solar systems are expected to generate 2.5 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, and avoid the emission of 1,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of taking 363 cars off the road or preventing more than 800 metric tons of coal from being burned. 

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Published on September 15, 2015
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