On July 14th 2017, Indian Railways launched its first solar-powered DEMU (Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit) train from Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The need of electricity in each coach including lights, fans and the display system will be met by the energy produced by the solar panels fitted atop the coaches.
Speaking at the launch, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu stated, “it was a “path breaking leap” towards making trains more environment-friendly.”
This 1600 horsepower train has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai and its solar system and panels have been generated and contoured by the Indian Railways Organization of Alternative Fuel (IROAF). Within six months, 24 more coaches will be fitted with this system. The IROAF has designed this system with a smart inverter that will optimise power generation while the train is moving for catering to full load even during the night hours with the help of battery bank that will ensure sufficient electricity.
The solar power will also help in reducing 2.7 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.
This solar powered carrier will take on several other environment-friendly measures like bio-toilets, waste disposal, water-recycling, CNG and LNG and harnessing wind energy.
By saving an estimated 1.2 lakh kilo litre of diesel every year, the railways will be able to pocket INR 672 crore per year.