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Delhi Metro Eyes 100% Solar Dream

The Delhi based Hindustan Times recently reported that Delhi Metro is looking to meet its entire electricity needs using solar power.

As per a senior Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official, the metro is interested in buying solar electricity from a project developer rather than putting up one by itself.  DMRC is currently buying electricity at ₹6.94 (~$0.11) per kilowatt hour.

DMRC is the biggest consumer of electricity in the Indian state of Delhi. Its traction system is completely electricity driven, and in addition, electricity is required for signalling, communication, air-conditioning, and lighting, amongst other things. A Train of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation at one of the stations

As of now, Delhi metro has a peak power requirement of 150 MW which is expected to shoot up to 250 MW by the time the third phase goes operational. Over the past five years, power prices in Delhi have increased at the rate of 20 percent per annum; solar power can help the company to free itself from future price rise.

The report mentions that the metro might be looking at a solar plant of 500 MW installed capacity, possibly in the neighbouring state of Rajasthan.

DMRC has also been focusing on solar rooftops in a big way. Currently it operates a 1.2 MW solar rooftop capacity system, with the metro is hoping to implement a few more pilots before rolling it out on a large scale to cover all stations and yards on the network.

A GIZ supported study estimates a network-wide potential of about 52 MW solar rooftop capacity.

The rooftop projects are being commissioned and operated under the RESCO — REnewable Energy Services COmpany — model where the Delhi Metro provides the site for the project while the developer takes care of capital cost and project operation and maintenance. The utility-scale plant will also be developed under a similar model, and is expected to entail an initial investment of ₹30 billion (~$500 million).

Check out this presentation for an overview of several initiatives taken by Delhi metro for its sustainable growth.

Meanwhile Indian Railways has been experimenting with solar powered coaches, and have got promising results.

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Written By

is a Fellow with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI, New Delhi). He tweets at @indiasolarpost. Views and opinion if any, are his own.


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