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Railways to utilise solar energy; become a complete 'Green mode of transportation'

Monday, 6 July 2020 (17:03 IST)
New Delhi:As a pioneer in green energy procurement, Indian Railways has started on a mission mode energy procurement from various solar projects like the 3 MWp solar plant set up at MCF Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. 
Taking decisive steps to transform itself as 'Net Zero' Carbon Emission Mass Transportation Network by 2030, the Ministry of Railways has decided to install solar power plants on its vacant unused lands on mega-scale. 
As part of its endeavour to be self-reliant for its energy needs as directed by the Prime Minister and solarise railway stations by utilising its vacant lands for Renewable Energy (RE) projects, Railway is committed to utilise solar energy for meeting its traction power requirements and become a complete 'Green mode of transportation'.
About 100 MWp rooftop solar systems have already been commissioned on various stations and buildings of Indian Railways.
The use of solar power will accelerate Railways Minister Piyush Goyal's mission to achieve conversion of the Railways to 'Net Zero' carbon emission railway. 
The Railways' present demand would be fulfilled by the solar projects being deployed, making it the first transport organisation to be energy self-sufficient. This would help in making Indian Railways green as well as 'Atma Nirbhar'.
Besides, one project of 1.7 MWp at Bina in Madhya Pradesh which shall be connected directly to Overhead Traction System has already been installed and is at present under extensive testing as it is likely to be commissioned within 15 days. 
This is the first of its kind project in the world commissioned by Indian Railways in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL)  involves adoption of innovative technology for converting Direct Current (DC) to single phase Alternating Current (AC) for feeding directly to Railway's overhead traction system. The solar power plant, established near the Bina Traction Sub Station (TSS), can produce approximately 25 lakh units of energy annually and will save around Rs 1.37 crore for Railway every year, an official release here siad.
Indian Railways and BHEL officials have worked tirelessly to successfully implement this innovative project. The project was undertaken by BHEL under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme. Despite the Covid-19 lockdown and consequent difficulties faced in the availability of material and manpower, the Railways and BHEL worked together as a team to accomplish this mission in just eight months from the date of signing of the agreement on October 9, 2019. 
The key challenge in this project was the conversion of DC power generated from solar panels to the single phase 25 KV AC power which is used by the Railways traction system. This required the development of high capacity inverters with single phase output which were not readily available in the market. The solar panels generate DC energy which will be converted into AC energy through these unique inverters and stepped up to 25 kV AC -1 ? through the transformer to directly feed power to the BINA TSS which will be used for running of electric trains.
It has already floated tenders for 2 GW of solar projects for Indian Railways to be installed on unutilised railway lands
In addition, two pilot projects for the scheme of land based solar plants for meeting electric traction energy requirements of the Railways are under implementation. One of them is a 50 MWp solar power plant on vacant unused land at Bhilai in Chhattisgarh which shall be connected with Central Transmission Utility (CTU) and is targeted to be commissioned before March 31, 2021. 
The 2 MWp solar plant at Diwana (Haryana) which shall be connected to State Transmission utility (STU) is expected to be commissioned before August 31, 2020.(UNI)

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