The Indian Railways has introduced the first of its kind non-AC coaches which come fitted with solar panels, which will be used to operate lights fans and mobile charging points, Times of India has reported.
These coaches were inaugurated by railway board member Ravindra Gupta, and are part of India Railway Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF)’s initiative, which also saw the installation of solar panels on Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trains last year.
According to the report, the solar panel’s installation is expected to save about Rs 3 crore for the railways over a 25 year period. The installation of these panel has cost Railways about Rs 3.90 lakh. These panels are expected to produce about 17 units of power everyday.
As per a Tribune report, the solar panel affixed coaches have already been put into commission by being attached to the Rewari – Sitapur passenger train. It is expected that such coaches would also be fitted to Taj Express and Shan-e-Punjab Express in the near future.
According to a Financial Times report, three more passenger trains have been earmarked for being fitted with solar panels, owing to their batteries failing to charge properly, due to low running speed. These three trains are Varanasi – Lucknow passenger via Pratapgarh, Lucknow – Varanasi passenger via Faizabad and Varanasi – Lucknow Intercity Express.
Incidentally Indian Railways’ solar push isn’t limited to solar panels on coaches, and includes introducing a solar policy to harness about 1000 MW solar power. This includes installing solar panels on station rooftops and railway crossings.