Indian Railways Looks Sunny: Plans To Bid Out 4 GW of Solar Projects Soon

To promote a greener environment and source clean energy Indian Railways is planning to bid out Solar projects, and tenders have just started to open up

Indian Railways is planning to replace 4,000 MW of coal-fired electricity to run its trains with solar energy from modules deployed on both sides of select electrified tracks in 10 states.

The Railway Board is examining the project bid document, stipulating local manufacturing for 1,200 MW of equipment under the ‘Make In India’ initiatives, prepared by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), an entity under the renewable energy ministry. The tender, estimated to be worth Rs 16,000 crore, is expected shortly.

Indian Railways will offer vacant land, often threatened by encroachment, on both sides of the identified tracks. The promoters will make the investment on solar panels and other equipment. The investment will be recovered from the sale of power.

There are several firsts to the proposal too. Firstly, power from the panels will be fed through inverters and step-up transformers directly into the 25 kV overhead traction system, removing the need for laying separate transmission lines.

Secondly, the project will kick off manufacturing of 25 kV single-phase inverters which are so far limited to smaller-capacity rooftop segment.

Railways is estimated to save 20% of the annual energy bill in the first year and 40% thereafter. Besides, the project will save Railways land from encroachment. In the first phase itself, the project will produce 6.6 billion units of power. This compares well against 16 BU (billion units) used for traction every year out of total consumption of 18.5 billion units worth Rs 10,036 crore.

Railways will consume the total output from the project and may make arrangement for energy banking with states. Under the arrangement, surplus solar power can be supplied to the state utilities, which will supply equivalent power when Railways need it.

Related Post

Indian Railways Invites Bids for 2MW solar projects for Delhi-Ambala line

Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) has invited bids for the setting up of 2 MWp Solar plants along the Railway Track (Delhi-Ambala) Near Diwana (Northern Railways) under Tariff Based Competitive Bidding.

Indian Railways wants to source solar power through solar plants along the Railway tracks through tariff based competitive bidding. The aim is to utilize renewable energy as well as to meet its Solar Purchase Obligations (SPO). Railway for this will sign PPA for 25 years. The tariff ceiling has been kept at Rs 2.93 / kWh. The last date for submission of bids is January 28, 2019.

Indian Railways (IR) is one of the world’s largest rail networks, spread over 67,000 route Kms. IR is the lifeline of the country carrying nearly 23 million passengers every day making it the largest passenger carrying system in the world.

It is also the 4th largest freight transporter in the world moving 1,100 million tonnes of freight, as it traverses the length and breadth of the country. Given the massive scale of its operation, it is not surprising that the Indian Railways has a growing appetite for the consumption of electricity. Every year Indian Railways consumes around 2% out of the country’s total power consumption. Therefore, Indian Railways has announced that it will become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. For this, it has been working in all directions, to reduce its carbon footprint. They include solar, wind, biofuel and many other clean energy initiatives.

For solar, IR has planned to set up 1000 MW of solar power through developers with PPA.

500 MW solar plants on the rooftop of Railway buildings, for meeting non-traction power loads.

500 MW solar plants on land-based systems, for meeting traction as well as non-traction loads

REMCL had also invited bids for a 50 MW solar project on railways land at Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. Further Railways have also tied up 400 MW from the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Plant for meeting its traction power requirement.

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