In a move to achieve the objective of becoming 100 percent self-sustainable for all power needs and also contribute to national solar power goals, the Indian Railways has solarised over 960 stations till date. Some of the stations solarised are Varanasi, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Jaipur, Secunderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Howrah and others.
Orders have been placed for 198 MW solar rooftop capacity for 550 stations which are under execution. Also, the Indian Railways had recently organised a meet of leading solar power developers who shared their expectations of being partners in the journey to become net zero carbon emitters before 2030. It is set to produce solar energy for meeting all its energy consumption needs of more than 33 billion units by 2030.
At present, the annual requirement is about 20 billion units. It has a plan for installing solar plants of 20 GW capacity by utilising its vacant land by 2030. In this regard, bids for three GW solar projects on vacant railway land parcels and along the railway track have already been invited by Railway Energy Management Company (REMCL), a PSU of the Indian Railways.
These solar projects, besides supplying power to railways at reduced tariff, will also protect the railway land by construction of a boundary wall along the track. Around 51,000 ha vacant land is available with the Indian Railways and now ready to extend support to developers for installing solar power plants on the Railway’s vacant un-encroached land. Moreover, the Railways is also set to achieve 100 percent electrification by the year 2023.