In one of the Western Railways most ambitious plans to save energy, they have decided to install solar panels at Churchgate Station to produce electricity that will be six times the amount the station consumes every year. The excess electricity produced will be given back to the grid said WR officials.
As per the details chalked out by the electrical department of WR, the 2,600 sqm area comprising the roof of Churchgate building will be covered with solar panels. These panels will produce 100 kilowatt of electricity (in terms of units this would be 150 lakh units).
Currently the Churchgate station complex uses around 6 lakh units per year whereas the multi-storeyed glass facade office and the general manager’s complex - the old heritage one - use 19 lakhs units, making a total of 25 lakh units.
The plan, currently in the proposal stage, is moving fast especially with the union government’s push towards energy conservation. Officials said that the work should be completed by the end of 2014.
“In plain terms we will be producing six times the electricity that we use at Churchgate for all things apart from running trains (also called non-traction energy in railway lingo). It will help us improve the lighting of the station which in turn will increase the comfort for the commuters,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR.
Officials said that depending on the success of the Churchgate project, there are plans to replicate it in other big stations like Mumbai Central and Andheri, among others. “The advantage railways has is that some of our station buildings have very long and wide roofs which is ideal to create such solar electricity units,” said an official.
WR just this week won seven National Energy Conservation awards of excellence instituted by the Government of India’s ministry of power. The seven wins are a national record for any organisation, said officials. WR saved 4.44 million units of electricity and Rs 2.88 crore in non traction energy during the year 2012-13.