Mumbai Railway Stations going Solar!

Prominent railway stations in Mumbai such as Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Andheri, Bandra and Borivli among others may soon be equipped with solar panels to generate electricity.

The railways has sent the union ministry a list of stations that can accommodate solar panels for energy production.

The railways has sent the union ministry a list of stations that can accommodate solar panels for energy production.

The railways, which pay commercial electricity rates for the units of power they use to ply passengers, welcomed the proposal and has even decided to divert the electricity generated within their premises to the national grid. It has already sent a list of stations where solar energy panels can be installed for energy production, to the railway ministry.

The Western Railways has also sent a list of major stations that house a railway building within its premises, which includes stations such as Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Dadar and Andheri. “We have identified stations and have sent the list to the railway ministry.

The plan comes close on the heels of the railways’ meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Surat earlier this month, where the city’s locals made a presentation on how to transform local railway stations into world class ones.

Go Solar & Get water for free: We at PlugInCaroo believe that While they are at this… the Railways can also double up as rainwater collection points (or rainwater harvesters) as with a slight modification (10% extra cost) each Railway Station can be able to easily collect about a million (1,000,000) Litres of water every year. They will need every drop of this water to clean the panels once every 3 days. Excess water can be used for farming/gardening or for washing the toilets or the railway station. This will enable the Railways to save their water bills too.

Current design of Railway Station Roof has to be slightly modified. Here you can see the rainwater is channeled on the tracks or drainage systems and wasted.

Current design of Railway Station Roof has to be slightly modified. Here you can see the rainwater is channeled on the tracks or drainage systems and wasted.

Solar panels can, on an average, generate 1 mega watt of electricity in an acre of land, which can power nearly 800-1,000 homes. The railways is currently finding out how many acres of land need to be allotted for the solar panels. (If the station top roofs are modified as per http://www.plugincaroo.com suggestion they will not need acres of land. The surface area of each double-platform-station is itself half an acre if not more. Thus each Railway Station could power 1,000 homes!  The railways could power the Railway housing colonies or even sell power to surrounding areas).

No response from Govt: The railways has, in the past, made several appeals to the state government to address the issue of paying for power at commercial electricity rates, but was unable to get a positive response. “Railways pay Rs 9 per unit. This is a major burden for us.We hope the government pays heed to our requests,” said a senior official, on condition of anonymity. Earlier suggestions included installing a roof on railway platforms for the solar panels to be set up.

Railway Station Solar Roof that also collects rainwater. Each station can collect up to one million liters of rainwater every year.

Rly Station Solar Roof that also collects rainwater. Each station can collect up to 1 million liters of rainwater every year.

However, that plan was scrapped as the roofs were “supposedly” not strong enough to support the weight of the panels. As of now, it has been decided that the buildings’ rooftops will be used for generation of solar power.

We at plugincaroo believe the above statement the roof is not strong enough” is not true as the weight of a solar panel is much less than the asbestos roof which are not only environmentally hazardous but also at least 3 times heavier than the solar panels. Thus the asbestos roof has to be REPLACED with Solar Roof AT THE EARLIEST.  Possibly they contemplated loading the solar roof on top of the asbestos roof and not as a replacement.

Pilot Project Surat The presentation that was made at the meeting between the railways and the PMO in Surat also had information on how to increase the number of platforms, services and buildings in railway stations. It suggested using the buildings for commercial purposes and also having a shopping mall. Another idea was to have cleaner, broader platforms. The railway authorities have given the proposal a thumbs up and claim that they will take it to the next level.
But along with this production of energy care has to be taken not to waste it by taking the following steps:
1. Establishment of a new parallel power-line called Solar Power Line.
2. Only energy efficient electric devices (like round-led-bubs, led street light, LED-tubelight, DC Fans, etc) should be connected to the Solar Power Line.
3. Change all CFL and tubelights to the latest led-round-bulbs.
4. All stations can have a few slabs of solar panels so that they can power the light

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