Clean Power Indian Railways plans 1 GW solar power capacity

Published on December 30th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha

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Indian Railways Plans 1 GW Solar Power Capacity

December 30th, 2014 by  

Like all other major state-owned companies in India, the Indian Railways has also been tasked with setting up large-scale solar power projects across the country.

Indian Railways plans 1 GW solar power capacity

Indian Railways is planning to set up 1 GW of solar power capacity over the next few years and is currently working on a plan to implement this capacity. The announcement came from the Railway ministry which is directing the Indian Railways to set up small-scale solar power projects at railway stations.

The Indian Railways currently operates 10 MW capacity in the form of small-scale solar PV projects at 500 stations and buildings. It plans to double this capacity by setting up similar projects at 200 additional stations and buildings.

The large-scale solar PV projects are likely to come up on the vast area of unused land available with the Railways. This capacity will be set up with support from the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy through financial assistance from the National Clean Energy Fund.

The power generated from these large-scale power plants may be used for meeting the Renewable Purchase Obligation of the Railways, which is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the country, or it could be sold to the power utilities at a fixed pre-determined rate.

Like other public sector companies looking to set up large-scale solar power projects, the Railways is also expected to source PV modules and other equipment from Indian manufacturers.

Earlier this year, the Indian Railways announced a plan, in collaboration with IIT-Madras, to use solar power for providing air conditioning and lighting inside the coaches. The Indian Railways would do well to adopt renewable energy sources, as it is heavily dependent on diesel, whose prices are now linked to the global market and is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Image Credit: Challiyan | CC-BY-SA 3.0


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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.



  • vinsin

    Being run by government over the years led India railways under funded and out dated with time. Ticket prices are too low to recover even the operating cost.

  • JamesWimberley

    I get the impression that Indian Railways is a capable organization, perhaps the best legacy of the Raj. It has a working national online ticketing system, which China has still not managed to create.

    • Larmion

      On the other hand, it just reported losses of 30 000 crore for 2014. That an organisation manages to make a loss despite high subsidies and chronically low investment is hardly a sign of competence.

      That low investment is also causing Indian Railways to lose market share to other forms of transport at a rate that’s high even by the standards of developing economies. On average, only 500km of new track is added a year and what is already there is often in poor condition.

      Oh, and the safety record of India’s railways is terrible, with 15.000 casualties per annum attributed to unsafe crossings alone.

      India’s railways are far better managed than those of many other countries at a similar level of development, no doubt about that. But to say that the organization is ‘capable’ is generous to say the least.

      • JamesWimberley

        I’d accept a contrary view from an Indian, which I do not think you are. Who’s responsible for the “chronically low investment” and below-cost ticket pricing? As it’s a nationalized operator, politicians. I never said Indian politicians were competent. Cf. Amtrak. The SNCF maintains high standards because by and large French politicians leave the énarque managers alone.

        • sukumar

          and MR Larmion
          Get your facts right please, IR have never missed its dividend payments to GOI in its history, only exception was defferment for tw0 years in 2002-03 but it was paid later.
          so it is not a loss making organisation. what the figure of 30000cr reported is basically subsidy provided to passenger traffic but the surplus from freight is much higher at 50000 cr.
          the basic problem was in UPA govt who refused to compensate IR even when fuel charges had increased to 145 $ per barrel affecting IR finances.
          the present MInister and GOVT is very dynamic and have planned an investment of 850000 Cr in 5 years which is going to reverse the share of IR.
          it is a highly professionally managed organisation getting some of the best brains.

    • ak

      oh, thanks for your positive opinion about india , i dono y chinese dont have an online tickiteng system , but our train speeds are tooo low campared to the chinese .. most of the top intercity trains leaving a few go at an average speed of 50-60 kmph

      • sukumar

        No doubt ,there has been no significant investment on speed front in IR, the upgradation of existing system have its geometrical limitation of going upto 160 peak and avg 100 kmph, which is too slow by any standards.
        the new thinking of green field projects of high speed may materialise in 5-7 years to touch 200 kmph to 300 kmph.
        the govt is also pushing DFCC projects by 2020, if that completes enough passenger capacity will be avaialble to make any routes with no waiting.
        so next 5 years are very important for IR

    • Sameer

      Thats because the the ticketing agency IRCTC is subsidiary corporation. Indian railways suffers from ridiculous under capacity so much that in most routes you have to book tickets a month in advance to get our seats reserved.

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