The next big thing that Indian Railways is planning to do is to harness solar energy to run trains and save Rs 1.24 lakh per coach a year.
“As the pilot project, one non-AC coach has been fitted with solar panels on the rooftop. The trial has been successful so far with the coach generating nearly 17 units of electricity every day. Depending on its success, decision will be taken to convert the entire train into a solar power-enabled one. Solar energy will be used to meet the electricity needs in moving trains, and reduce diesel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions,” said Divisional Railway Manager, Arun Arora as reported by DailyMail
The coach fitted with solar panel is under trial and, we soon will have an entire train fitted with solar panels. This coach produces nearly 17 units of electricity every day. The solar power is likely to bring down diesel consumption, and will be cost-effective.
The trains will be pulled by conventional diesel-run engine; the internal electricity needs for lights and fans on both AC and non-AC coaches will be provided by solar panels.
In 2013-14, around Rs 28,500 crore (22 per cent) were spent on just fuel by the Indian Railways. Solar power enabled panels will bring this cost down.
Alternate coaches will have the solar panels so they could draw electricity from the adjoining coaches.
Indian railways is also looking at utilizing alternate source of fuels with trials already on to use CNG, biodiesel and natural gas among others. Local trains on Rohtak–Rewari section of Delhi Division run on CNG.