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Published on : Jul 19, 2017

Indian Railways has introduced rooftop solar panels in one of its trains to power appliances such as fans, lights, and information display systems in passenger coaches this week. The 16 solar panels, fitted atop each coach in the train have replaced the diesel generators that earlier powered the appliances. The train, however, will still run on a diesel-powered engine.

The rooftop solar systems fitted on the train have been designed by Noida-based company Jakson Engineers, under directions from the Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels (IROAF). The high speed of the train, which is an average of 80 km per hour, made it difficult for engineers to fit the solar panels on the roof. Sundeep Gupta, vice-chairman and MD of Jakson Engineers, has stated that the task put the company’s engineering skills to a real test.

The Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels was founded in the year 2008 and had focused initially on power sources such as natural gas and bio-diesel as a way to include cleaner fuels in the Indian Railway’s set of preferred fuels. The move to solar power has taken a while and is expected to grab an important part in the fuel mix of the state-owned solar company.

The Indian Railways has set plans of generating nearly 1,000 MW of solar power for use in its transportation network by the year 2020. The ambitious plan of making a cleaner energy source an important part of its fuel mix is of significance as it will help India attain its renewable energy goals by 2022. The country is on track to be eight years ahead of its plan of using renewable energy sources to provide for the country’s 40% electricity needs by 2030.