In a move towards sustainability, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is considering the use of solar power to meet its energy needs.
The managing director of KMRL, Loknath Behera, has revealed plans to establish solar parks in Alappuzha and Kasaragod. The aim is to generate 100 per cent of the required power from solar energy.
The Kochi Metro requires a total of 20 (mega-watt) MW of energy to function.
KMRL is now producing 11 MW of energy from its various solar projects, which accounts for 51 per cent of its total electricity needs. There are considerations for more solar projects.
Behera has stated that approximately 45-50 acres of land in Kasaragod will be utilised for the construction of a solar park. The proposal is currently being reviewed by the government, and Behera is hopeful that it will be approved soon.
Additionally, a similar solar park will be established in Alappuzha specifically for generating electricity to support the operations of the Kochi Water Metro, as stated by Behera. This initiative is part of the company's efforts to eliminate operational costs by the next financial year.
Currently, the solar park at KMRL's Muttom yard contributes 56 per cent of its energy requirement. However, with the implementation of new solar parks, KMRL aims to fulfil all of its power requirements.
An official has announced that there are plans to generate more than 13 MW of power from the upcoming solar park at Kasaragod. Discussions regarding the Alappuzha solar plant are currently in the early stages.
From April 2022 to March 2023, KMRL's solar plants are projected to generate a total of 1,37,04,345 KWH of solar energy.
In addition to solar panels, the metro trains also utilise a regenerative braking system (RBS) to generate electricity. Officials state that, on an average, 40 per cent of the total energy used by the metro trains is regenerated through the RBS system.
According to a KMRL official, the electricity generated during braking is fed back into the system and utilised by other trains that are not in braking mode. This regenerative braking not only saves electricity but also reduces wear on wheels and brake pads, providing additional benefits.
KMRL has approximately 100 acres of government land designated for solar park projects, according to The New Indian Express report.
The initial proposal suggests that Kochi Water Metro Limited will require 16-17 MW of power to operate its fleet of 78 electric boats over the 76-kilometre stretch. Therefore, the plan is to develop the solar park according to these requirements.
Interestingly, Kochi International Airport became the world's first 'green airport’. The airport is fully powered by solar energy.
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