India has taken yet another initiative to make the country cleaner and safer from environmental pollution. Indian Railways, which operates one of the largest rail networks in the world ferrying a record number of commuters each day, has introduced a solar-powered train and plans to introduce even more.
These Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains will have at least 16 solar panels installed on the roof of every carriage including battery backups. The solar panels atop the carriages are expected to generate around 7,200kw of power each year. IR plans to utilize the solar energy for internal lighting, fans and other electrical systems inside the train’s coaches.
Every DEMU train is expected to save 21,000 liters of diesel per year. In terms of carbon emissions, the solar-powered trains will reduce carbon emissions by 9-tonnes a year.
The solar powered trains can also be seen as the government’s push to popularize home solar systems in India. The government has been aggressively pushing for clean energy to reduce its reliance on imported fossil energy sources and solar is one area where the Indian establishment sees a huge potential for growth. India already has one of the largest solar power subsidy programs in the world and visible initiatives like the solar train and solar tree projects can help in mass awareness about the benefits of buying home solar.
In the meanwhile, the solar train is also an engineering feat as this is one of the first implementation of solar panels on a fast-moving platform. The panels are expected to last for around 25 years and Indian Railways already has a maintenance program in place for the new trains. The panel life is on par with rooftop solar installations provided by leading solar panel companies in India such as SolarByLuminous and definitely points towards a brighter and cleaner future for India’s public transport sector.
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