SALEM: Soon enough, Jan Shatabdi from Coimbatore to Mayiladuthurai will be chugging with southern zone's first solar-powered coach inaugurated on Thursday at Salem.
Launched as part of railways' Go Green initiative, once operational, it will become the first train to have six non-AC coaches each powered fully by 16 solar panels that would be capable of powering the lights and fans. The train will be operational after trial runs on the Coimbatore to Mettupalayam and Coimbatore to Mayiladuthura routes are completed.
"With 16 panels of 300W power each, coach no. CZ02625 would be the first coach in Southern zone fitted with 4.8kW able to self-power all fans and lights of the coach," said Bala Palani, Director Research and Product development, Ind-Aussie Power Ltd, assigned the project of fitting solar-powered coaches for Salem division.
The solar panels are capable of withstanding wind velocities, vibrations and shocks when the train is running. Also, by harvesting solar energy, the solar panel will generate on an average 18-20 units of electricity on a sunny day, as estimated by trial runs.
This will ensure enough power to sustain fans and lights during night time and cloudy days but not enough power to run air conditioners in AC coaches.
According to railways, the yearly generation of power from a solar powered coach is estimated to be 7,000 units, thus this move will bring about considerable diesel savings.
Using these panels, it is estimated that the generation of 20 to 25 KWh average per coach on a sunny day and 700 liters of diesel per coach per year will cut carbon emissions of 2.68 kg per litre of diesel with bare minimum maintenance.
"The mounting of solar panels on the coach has been fitted on a four-tier safety mechanism," said an official.