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India’s solar powered trains
By Michelle Robertson
Indian Railways has found an innovative way to harness natural energy by mounting solar panels on the top of its coaches. Power from these panels runs the lights, fans, and information display systems inside the passenger coaches. While the train itself will still be pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive, solar energy will replace the diesel generators that typically power these appliances. The idea was developed by Jakson Engineers. Sundeep Gupta, managing director of the company, explained: “It is not an easy task to fit solar panels on the roof of train coaches that run at a speed of 80 km per hour. Our engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of this rooftop solar project for Indian Railways.”
His future plans are even more ambitious. By 2020 the state-run transportation network plans to generate around 1,000 megawatts of solar power which could be scaled up to 5,000 megawatts by 2025. This is significant not only for the railways - given that it will help bring down their fuel bill - but it will also aid the country’s overall target of achieving 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.