Nagpur Metro proposes Solar Power for its operations

Solar power to meet Nagpur Metro Rail’s 40% energy needs

Nagpur (NGP): The Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) has decided to use Solar Power in a big way to run the service and wants to tie up with a foreign government for technology and finance. The company wants to have installed capacity of 30 MW using the metro railway stations as sites for solar panels. This will meet 40% of the energy requirement including traction power. NMRCL will not spend a penny for generating this power. The project will be executed by an operator. About 40 percent of the energy needs of Nagpur Metro Rail would be met using solar energy if a proposal for the purpose is accepted and finalised.

The Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) has plans to tie up with the government of Germany to gain technological and financial support for the proposed project. NMRCL Managing Director Brajesh Dixit told the media on Friday that German government was very positive about the project and a federal government agency GIZ had shown interest in giving the know-how for solar project for Nagpur metro. “KfW, a German government-owned bank, has shown interest in extending a soft loan as well as providing technology for Nagpur metro’s solar project. It is already funding solar projects in India in coordination with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE),” he said adding that European Investment Bank too was going through the proposal.

The MD said that German agencies had also showed readiness to fund the Rs 3,000 crore needed for metro project. “If the French agency – FDA – does not provide Rs 1,500 crore as agreed, Germany is ready to provide this sum too,” he added. German agencies’ teams will visit the city in the last week of May to evaluate the project from economic as well as technical angles.

The solar project will be executed by the operator and it will get soft loan from German agencies through a tri-partite agreement. “We will design the stations in such a way that solar panels fit into it. The operator will use the Solar Energy it generates for itself until the metro becomes functional. After that NMRCL will use the power. Nagpur metro will become the first one to use solar energy right from the design stage,” Dixit said.

NMRCL is considering the development of a cumulative installed capacity of 30 megawatts of solar power at metro railway stations. The company plans to hand over the development of the project to a dedicated developer.

The state-owned German development bank KfW was willing to extend a soft loan as well as to provide the necessary technology for the solar project. European Investment Bank, too, was reportedly studying the proposal. KfW already funds solar projects in India in coordination with IREDA and the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE). Other German agencies have also expressed readiness to provide the roughly $473 million needed for metro project.

Teams from German agencies will visit Nagpur later this month if “the French agency – FDA – does not provide 1,500 crore as agreed” Dixit told.

According to the proposal, the company that will be roped in to develop the solar installation will initially be free to use the power it generates for its own purposes until the metro project was completed. Once the project is completed, the solar plant operator will have to supply NMRCL with power for operations, the report says.

The Indian Railways under minister Suresh Prabhu is also working toward introducing renewable energy projects on its wide network. In coordination with Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), the railways have established a 20 kilowatt project at Indore. It will be establishing similar projects at Chittorgarh, Neemuch, and Ratlam in due course.

Geotechnical survey from today

The geotechnical survey for the metro railway will begin from Saturday. This is done for finding out at what depth hard rock lies. Pits will be dug to get this data. The foundation of the pillars has to be designed accordingly.

Superintending engineer Purushottam Kadu said that the pits would be 3 metres deep and will be dug at every 100 metres. “The 37 km metro corridor will thus have 370 pits. The first two will be dug at Zero Mile and Mihan. The soil strata of the city is basically black cotton soil and hard rock is found at some depth,” he said.

RUNNING ON SOLAR

  • German agencies ready to provide funds as well as technology for metro’s solar energy project
  • An operator will execute it using soft loans from German agencies
  • The solar panels will be installed on metro stations. Total installed capacity will be 30 MW
  • Feeder bus services planned on 19 routes. Total feeder length 160 km
  • Metro project will provide direct employment to 1,700 people
  • The tender for appointment of general consultant will be floated in June
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