Metro premises to go fully solar in a year
Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) plans to go fully solar in phase one by next year.
While 1 MW of solar power would be available in a few months as work has already started, the CMRL will have another 8 MW of solar power at its disposal later next year. The plan is not just to make it self-sufficient but also feed the surplus power to the Tangedco grid, officials said.
Solar PV systems would be installed in elevated stations, depot and ancillary buildings of underground stations.
CMRL has estimated the available roof-top area for solar projects to be approximately 40,000 square metres and about 20,000 sq.m. at the depots. They have identified areas in stations along the Koyambedu-Alandur stretch that can be put to use.
The first service of Chennai Metro Rail was started a year ago between Koyambedu and Alandur and the next stretch between Little Mount and Chennai airport is likely to be opened in August end. Chennai Metro Rail has identified spaces for solar generation in the next stretch between Little Mount and Chennai airport too. For exploring the potential to tap solar energy in the roof spaces of stations, Chennai Metro Rail has floated expression of interest where vendors can look at ways to implementing this project.
“The work on the first project of generating 1 MW power has already started and will be completed in a few months. The 8 MW project may take up to a year. But we are hoping complete it as soon as possible,” an official said.
The Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL) will file a petition with the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for installing solar panels having total capacity of 25MW on its infrastructure. The regulator’s nod is necessary for any consumer who wants to install panels having capacity of more than 1MW.
Addressing a press conference on Monday,Brijesh Dixit, managing director of NMRCL, said panels having total capacity of 14MW would be installed in the first phase. “We want to meet 65% of our energy requirement through solar energy. Around 40% of the operational cost of any Metro Rail is electricity. As the present cost of the solar power is half of the power that is supplied by MSEDCL, it will lead to a saving of 20% in operational cost. NMRCL had roped in a technical consultant for estimating potential of solar energy generation and preparation of a business plan. The detailed project report (DPR) for solarization is now ready. Our aim is to create 25MW capacity,” he added.
As a part of the pilot project, NMRCL has already installed solar panels in its Civil Lines office. “We want to know beforehand what problems will be faced while going for solar power. We have also purchased an electric car, which we charge with solar power, as we want to run our feeder bus service on solar power,” Dixit said. This car was unveiled by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday evening.
MERC’s nod apart, NMRCL faces a number of challenges for using solar power. Elaborating on them, Dixit said, “Solar energy is generated at 415V but it has to be utilized for running trains at 25,000KV. Traction and non-traction loads share common network but operate at different voltages — 25KV and 33KV. Another problem is that connectivity for feeding solar power into Mahatransco grid is at 132KV level. Also, there are some difficulties in installing solar panels on the viaduct.”