Indian Railways rolled out its first Solar-Powered Trains designed with rooftop solar panels powering the lights, fans, and information display systems inside passenger coaches this week.
The 16 solar panels, which lay atop each coach, also power the appliances inside. The panels will replace the diesel generators that typically power the appliances, but the train will still be pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive, Quartz reported.
Noida-based Jakson Engineers designed the rooftop solar system, under the direction of the Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels (IROAF).
“It is not an easy task to fit solar panels on the roof of train coaches that run at a speed of 80 km per hour. Our engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of this rooftop solar project for Indian Railways,” Sundeep Gupta, vice-chairman and managing director of Jakson Engineers told the Business Standard newspaper.
The IROAF was established in 2008 and initially focused on bio-diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) to help diversify Indian Railways’ fuel mix, before looking to solar.
The Indian Railways have ambitious plans to generate around 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power to use in its state-run transportation network by 2020. These numbers are of particular significance as they’ll help to attain India’s overall renewable energy goal by 2022.
Last year, India canceled four coal-fired power projects and focused more on Solar-Powered Trains. The country is also on track to be eight years ahead of its 2030 goal of using renewable energy to provide electricity to 40 percent of its population.