Vizag or Visakhapatnam Railway Station has become a fully energy efficient railway station, making it the first one to be so in the Waltair railway division. Following this achievement, the station has been classified in the A1 Category of energy efficiency. This has mainly been achieved by replacing the conventional light with light-emitting diodes (LED) and making use of solar energy.
These include generating 1000 KWp On-Grid power via rooftop Solar Photo Voltaic systems. These systems have been set up on four buildings namely, electric Loco Shed, Diesel Loco Shed, Divisional Railway Hospital and the Divisional Railway Manager’s (DRM) office. In total, about 3,360 solar panels have been used for this project.
A total area of 16,250 square metres has been utilised atop of vacant rooftops. In total, these panels would generate a whopping 3,600 units of energy per day.
The solar grid is part of a PPP partnership which will take care of its operations and maintenance for the next 25 years. The project has cost about 8 crores. As per Mukul Saran Mathur, the DRM of Waltair, this energy efficiency will save about Rs 3.17 lakh per year, by reducing the load on railways’ power grid.
In December it was reported that the Kacheguda Railway Station, which falls under the South Central Railway (SCR), had become India’s first energy efficient ‘A1 category’ railway station. Some of the measures it undertook include, replacing 1,312 lights with LEDs and switching over to energy efficient Brushless DC Electrical (BLDC) motors fans for 370 ceiling fans. This was expected to reduce costs by about Rs 14.08 lakh per year.
In recent days, the railways have undertaken other pro-environment measures. This includes converting a diesel powered locomotive into an electric one by using indigenous technology. This task was completed in a record time of two months.
The intent of the railways to move towards a greener future was evident back in 2014 when it was reported that, Centre of Railway Informatics System (CRIS) had developed a web based Electrical Energy Management System called “RAILSAVER”. This was pegged as a useful tool for the Indian Railways to reduce its carbon footprint.