Which company is building Nagpur Metro

Cheap solar power is booming in India

Oliver Ristau

One overtakes to the right, another dodges to the left: rickshaws and motorbikes meander artistically through the congested traffic of Nagpur. As in many Indian megacities, the air in the streets is heavy with exhaust fumes. The drivers of the two-wheelers protect themselves with breathing masks.

In the future, photovoltaics (PV) will ensure better air in the central Indian city. Because it is supposed to produce traction current and thus drive the first metro line from Nagpur. In the industrial city of more than two million inhabitants, there is currently no public transport, with the exception of a few buses. That should change from 2020, when the trains rush along on around 1,000 stilts made of steel and concrete high above the rest of the traffic and carry 380,000 passengers.

Subramaniam Ramnath is responsible for the strategic planning of the viaduct at the regional transport company Maha Metro. A model of a colorful locomotive stands in the glaring sunlight on the factory premises in the city center. Right next to it: a display board that explains how the PV works. "We will cover 65 percent of our total energy needs with solar energy," he says. For this purpose, a solar power plant with a good 130 kilowatts (kW) output from Indian production will be installed on each roof of the 38 train stations. Together with solar module walls along the railway line, Maha Metro intends to initially build up 14 megawatts (MW) of PV power, which will later be expanded to 25 MW. An external service provider takes over the installation and operation. Ramnath calculates that Maha Metro will pay the equivalent of five euro cents per kilowatt hour for the solar power. That is significantly less than she has to pay for the rest of the electricity she draws from the grid. It costs around twelve cents.

The Nagpur Metro is a showcase project for the government in New Delhi to implement plans to transform 100 cities in the country into smart cities, i.e. to generate energy efficiently and cleanly with intelligent solutions.

The planned solar railway is a pioneer. There is only a comparative project in the capital itself. The metro in the 15 million metropolis of Delhi has already installed 20 MW of solar energy and is expanding to 50 MW. The systems are to be installed on the flat roofs of the stations, vehicle depots and other buildings by 2021, the company explains. In addition, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is planning to purchase solar power from parks with around 500 MW in the country in order to be able to cover the entire energy demand by 2025 in a CO2-neutral manner.

India needs renewable energies in order not to buy further economic and population growth at the expense of the climate and the health of the urban population. That is why the incumbent government has made the expansion of wind and PV a top priority. Since 2014, the.

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