The Integral Coach factory has started a project with IIT Madras to manufacture AC coaches that will use solar power for their electricity needs. Solar power will be used also to run the AC/s in these coaches as well as for lighting.
This is good step as it will cut down dependence on conventional sources of energy. The Indian railways being the largest carrier has huge potential to exploit solar power to fuel its energy needs.
At present, energy for running AC’s is supplied either through diesel or through self generating systems.
“We have asked IIT Madras to find ways to tap solar power and use it for interior lighting and air conditioning. An MoU was signed a month ago. We have started preliminary discussions with professors to work out different modalities to develop a feasible model to use solar power in running trains,” said a senior ICF official.
If the project is successful, the railways may be able to dispense with power cars.
“We are yet to know if power cars can be eliminated because we have to find out the extent of power that can be drawn from solar panels and how much of that can be stored effectively. These issues will be looked at by the developers,” he added.
ICF is already running a few wind mills to generate power in the southern districts of the state with the power being supplied to the grid.
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