Solar Powered Charging Stations Appear At Mumbai’s Suburban Rail Stations

Western Railways, which operates the western line of Mumbai's suburban railway network, has partnered with Funsolar to install solar powered mobile charging kiosks at select stations.

Travellers on Mumbai’s lifeline, its Suburban railway network,  have just received a fresh new gift, in the form of solar powered  mobile charging kiosks at select stations for now.

For now, 15 stations on the Western Line of Mumbai’s suburban train system have got a special solar powered facility.

According to Shri Ravinder Bhakar – Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway-These 100% solar powered systems can charge upto 8 phones at a time, and 100 during the day. The Western Railway division of Indian railway, which manages this line, has provided the facility free of cost to its users, available 24X7.

The panels for the charging kiosks  have been mounted on the station rooftops, with an LCD display on the ground giving  real-time information on the solar power generated, CO2 saved and battery status.
Starting from Churchgate station, to Grant Road, Mumbai Central, Lower Parel, Dadar, Santacruz, Andheri (W), Kandivali (W), Borivali (E), Borivali (W), Vasai (W), Nallasopara (W), Virar, Boisar and Palghar have been provided this for now. Another 5 stations are in line to get the facility soon.

The facility, while bound to be welcomed by commuters in the city, where over 4 million of them use just the western line train services every day. Thus, chances are, a single kiosk at every station will probably be too little, even if a good start. One also hopes that the central Railways managed central line and the Harbour line also move quickly to emulate the western railways in the initiative.

The company that has partnered on this initiative is Mumbai-based Funsolar , a not for profit firm focused on delivering solutions based on renewables. The firm has a CSR led model of solar powered products that can be installed in public places. Its an interesting option taken up by quite a  few firms in the space,particularly when it comes to distributed solar products, which seek to bring energy access to the poorest, or in public spaces.

According to Mr Bhakar,  the cost of each of these kiosks is Rs 1 lakh, but these have been provided to the railways under a CSR programme. He did not specific the name of the corporate.

For Funsolar, the installations should be a great proof of concept to sell the idea to more coporates, as it seeks to spread distributed solar products wider . It claims to have got a contract with the Chandigarh administration too, for smart benches that double as solar powered points for laptops and mobiles.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna Singh is the founder at IamRenew

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