Railway department may soon go solar at 3 Bengaluru stations

BENGALURU: Going green, the railway department has installed a large number of solar panels at Hospet railway station, which falls under the Hubballi Railway division, and Mysuru railway station, reducing the electricity bill to a large extent. At the Hospet Railway Station, the department has been generating 100 kilowatts of power, cutting down their power bill by up to 70 per cent.

Enthused by this, environment activists are urging South Western Railways (SWR) officials to use large rooftop space available at the three main stations in the city to generate power.

At the Hospet Railway Station, the work of placing solar panels was started six months ago by a few railway workers. “Every year, the station used to pay around `4.5 lakh as electricity bill. But after installing the solar panels, it had come down by 70 per cent,” the Hospet station electric engineer told Deccan Chronicle. The solar panels are used to backup power supply to the station office, hospital, running room and guestroom on the station premises.

“We have seen that rooftops at Hospet and Mysuru Railway are filled with solar panels, which is a good initiative. Officials from the Bengaluru division too can use the station premises to generate power, as the three main railway stations in the city have sufficient space. It is a win-win situation. This will save the Railways a lot of money, at least 50% of what they're paying now in electricity bills,” said Mr Santosh, an electrical engineer and regular train commuter.

In recent days, the Railways has started experimenting with the solar technology in other states. They have tried installing solar panels on coaches and to run an entire station on solar power. To reduce electricity bills, 11 railways stations in Kerala are installing rooftop solar panels, railway officials said.

An SWR senior official told Deccan Chronicle, “This is a very good move as we spend a lot of money on electricity. It started recently and we are planning to install solar panels at the three railway stations in the city too. We are discussing it with station electric engineers as all the three main stations have big areas and it needs proper planning. We will install solar panels at all the three stations soon.”

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