Solar powered trains in India are now a reality! In a groundbreaking move, the Indian Railways on Friday, launched its first 1600 HP solar DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train.
In line with his vision to use renewable energy, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu called the newly unveiled solar-powered train a “path-breaking” leap towards making trains “greener and more environment friendly”.
Here’s everything you need to know:
- The train now stationed at platform number 1 of Safdarjung Railway station, will travel from Sarai Rohilla station in Delhi to Garhi Harsaru Junction, Farukh Nagar in Haryana and will be operational from Saturday.
- It is a ten coach train — with two motor coaches and eight passenger coaches.
- The total cost of the train is Rs 13.54 crore. Eight coaches estimated at Rs 1 crore each, two motor coaches at Rs 2.5 crore each and solar panels on 6 coaches of Rs 9 lakh each, which total up to a 54 lakhs per train. These solar panels used are manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ campaign.
- The solar powered train will replace the existing non-solar powered panel on the same route and run at the speed of 110 km per hour.
- The train has a current sitting capacity of 89 per people per coach.
- The journey will be nearly one-and-half hour long.
- There have been no changes in the fare.
- To make the journey a leisure experience for commuter, the train is facilitated with cushioned seats.
- There are provisions of rakes for luggage and a display board in each coach.
- There are 16 solar panels of 300 watt capacity each in a coach. The energy generated through the panel will be stored in batteries and can be used at night as well.
- The two passenger coaches which do not have solar panel will operate on diesel.
- The train has two parallel power sources including solar power and diesel. In case one power source fails, it will switch to the other.
- The trains are estimated to save diesel equivalent to Rs 2 lakh per coach per annum. This will also result in the reduction of carbon dioxide emission equivalent to 9 tonnes per coach per annum. The move is estimated to save nearly Rs 672 crore per annum.
The train built at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, has a lifespan of 25 years similar to the life span of its installed solar panels. The solar panels will be monitored on a regular basis.
With the launch of this successful solar venture, the railways are looking forward to developing the solar powered train grid in all mail and express trains. They are looking for alternatives to convert solar energy into liquid fuel too.