Green signal: Howrah station to go solar in Aug

solar power

KOLKATA: Kolkata’s iconic red-bricked edifice, C station, is set to go green. To meet its daytime energy needs, this Coming August, the largest and second-oldest railway station in the country will switch over to solar power .

In 1954 it was electrified, about 10,000 units will be required by the station complex on a daily basis, of which during daytime 60% — that translates to 6,000 units — is required.

With the Narendra Modi government’s directive to the railways to go completely solar by 2025 this solar plan is in accordance to the same. The rooftops are a work in progress and work on 23 platform sheds of the station to set up a 3MW solar power plant to start generating enough power is also under process.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India has chosen Rays Expert, a company that has been partnering the Centre to set up solar plants on public buildings, to set up two similar plants on Centre-run facilities in Bengal — Howrah Station and IIEST Shibpur. The Shibpur plant is operational.

Rahul Gupta, CEO of Rays Expert said that the plant is being set up at a cost of Rs 21 crore. He further said that Eastern Railway (ER) will not have to spend anything to set up the plant. They will bear the expenses, and will sell the solar power generated at Rs 5.49 per unit, against Rs 7 that ER is paying now. This rate has been fixed for the next 25 years.

Efforts will be on to augment and store excess power so that gradually, the entire day’s needs can be met, once power generation starts.

ER general manager Harindra Rao said that they have a mandate from the Centre to go completely solar by 2025. They are starting with Howrah station and should be able to go solar within the stipulated deadline. Gradually, they will move towards other stations.

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