Central Railways Nagpur Division to generate 3 MW solar power daily

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Apr 2018 09:23:46


By Sagar Mohod,

To install solar panels on rooftops of 40 station buildings from May

Nagpur Division of Central Railway (CR) is gearing up for generating 3 MW of solar power daily. The division has inked contract with M/s Maytrah for tapping the solar energy. From May, solar panels would be installed on rooftops of 40 station buildings to tap solar energy.

“The plan is to reduce Railways’ dependence on Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) grid for its general power needs. For train running operations, Railways has already tied up with Dabhol Power Project leading to cutting down power cost from Rs 9 per unit asked by MSEDCL to just Rs 6 per unit.
“Similarly, if the division does manage to generate 3 MW daily, then it would manage to save around Rs 2.14 crore annually.

“Further, by switching over to solar power, Railways aims to have twin advantages -- save money on account of outflow to Mahadiscom for energy use and reduce load on grid during peak time,” informed Narayan Rabde, Senior Divisional Electrical Engineer (General) while talking to ‘The Hitavada’.

Rabde is piloting the division’s plan to curtail expenditure on energy front. The lesser the load on 11 KV line of MSEDCL, the more reliable power supply to its users. The reduction in expenditure translates into lower operating ratio, it is parameter of efficiency of railway’s working.

Informing about the development, Rabde said, as to the concept, for Railways, the cost for solar power is zero as the task of installation and maintenance is entrusted to M/s Maytrah. For the company, Railways would pay Rs 3.50 per unit for actual consumption. The surplus power generated through solar, would move directly into the grid. A separate net metering agreement would later be inked with MSEDCL. The current rate at which the state utility buys solar power is Rs 7 per unit, he added.

As per the plans of General Electric Branch, Rabde said, tapping solar energy would meet in house demand for electricity. The general lighting at respective stations would be from solar power, that too harvested locally. This would automatically bring down transmission losses due to local loop as energy generated is utilised at same place.
For Railways, the only expenditure involved in an inverter that would be connected to convert direct current generated through solar energy for utilisation in electrical appliances that run on alternate current, Rabde added.

Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) is nodal agency advising CR in its solar energy project.
“Under the leadership of Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Brijesh Kumar Gupta, the division has already reduced its power bill by nearly nine per cent. This is for usage at railway quarters.

“Similarly, with guidance of DRM, we are now gearing up for solar energy generation,” informed Rabde.
At Nagpur, apart from the station building, there is
also plan to utilise rooftop at DRM office building and also at Divisional Railway Hospital for solar power generation.
This would ensure that each of the place generates it own
energy that is required in huge quantity during the day time, he added.

For Nagpur railway station, the solar energy generation is targeted at 500 KW and same for Ajni railway station and Ajni-based Electric Loco Shed. At DRM office, the plan is for adding another 180 KW, as already 10 KW unit is working for last two years. For hospital and Gunjan Hall another 180 KW unit would be in place, he revealed.

In second phase, Rabde said, the division has envisioned meeting energy demands for small road side stations and passenger halts. This includes stations like Khapri, Gumgaon and so on. Here smaller units upto 10 KW would be sufficient to meet the needs for electricity during day time.

‘Solar panels to keep top floor of Rly station buildings cool’

Railway officials are also looking forward to major energy conservation as rooftops of railway station buildings would be covered with solar panels, the rooms on tops floors would remain cool. This automatically reduce need for cooling the office rooms, stated Narayan Rabde.

The targeted 3 MW daily would be an installed capacity for solar power generation but division officials have estimated achieving 75 per cent of it. So the actual generation
might be around 2.25 MW daily. The maximum power is generated from noon to afternoon, he added.