In an initiative to make the Indian rail network more environmentally friendly, the country has launched its first solar-powered train, which is expected to save nearly 21,000 litres of diesel per year.
According to the sources, the new Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains are fitted with around 16 solar panels on every carriage inclusive of battery back-ups.
It is reported that the solar panels have the capacity to generate around 7,200kw of energy each year, which would be used to power the internal lights, fans, and other electrical systems on the train coaches. The solar-panelled coaches would save around 21,000 litres of diesel offsetting carbon emissions by around nine tonnes a year.
Meanwhile, Suresh Prabhu, Union Railway Minister said that the trains were a path-breaking leap towards achieving India’s goal of making trains more environmentally friendly. Towards its commitment to using cleaner fuels, the department of railways is also reportedly increasing the use of alternative energy sources.
The solar panels would reportedly last for around 25 years and would be inspected regularly. Sundeep Gupta, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Jackson Engineers, which worked on the project, said that it wasn’t an easy task to fit the solar panels on the roofs of train coaches which travelled at a speed of 80kmph. He added that their engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of the rooftop solar project for Indian railways.