With a view to contribute towards the Indian Railways’ effort to make itself carbon-free by 2030 and preserve the environment, the Mumbai Division of Central Railway has set in motion a few initiatives that make the use of renewable energy, which will also save several lakh worth in power bills.
Towards this end, the railways has therefore identified Lonavala and Khandala belt as a part of this project. The Lonavala station and its adjoining railway premises will completely run on solar power including solar lamps and solar water coolers. This will also complement the efforts of preserving the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats, of which Lonavala is a part. The effort assumes significance owing to the spotlight on global warming due to excessive dependence on fossil fuels.
Solar panels are now installed on the roof of the Lonavala Railway Station’s Platform no. 2/3, that produce a total of 76 Kw of power. Two beautiful solar trees, each having 4×10 watts Light Emitting Diode (LED) fittings, integrated with 40 Watt Solar Panels, are also installed to illuminate the garden at the bazaar side of the station. It has proved to be a major attraction amongst the passengers, with many of them stopping and marvelling at the device. One solar-powered water cooler has also been installed the station.
Besides, there are six 33 W solar street poles at the entry of BVT yard Loco Pilot/Guard running room; a 1 Kilowatt peak (kWp) rooftop solar panel has been installed on the green gang hut at BVT yard, Lonavala, which has two 160 Ampere hour (Ah) batteries and 1 Kilovolt-ampere (kVa) inverter; level crossing gate no. 30 near Khandala station has been provided with a 1 kWp rooftop solar system, which has two 160 Ah batteries and 1 kVa inverter. With all these installations and use of renewable energy, the Khandala-Lonavala rail stretch has truly turned towards clean and green energy. The power generated from the solar panels, calculated to be to the tune of 68,400 Kilowatt-hour (kWh) annually, will save Lonavala railway station several lakh in power bills that can be used for other developmental works.
Rooftop grid connected solar panels have also been installed at the Chembur railway station (60 kWp with a 54,000 kWh annual power generation); Dockyard Road railway station 30 kWh which generates 27,000 kWh of power; Asangaon railway station’s 16.3 kWp solar and wind system which churns out 14,670 kWh of electricity; a 5 kWp system at Apta producing 4,500 kWh; Pen Station’s 6.3 kWp and 5 kWp solar panel that produce 10,470 kWh, and: Roha station’s 18.2 kWp solar system with a capacity of generating 16,200 kWh annually. Besides, Pen, Apta, Roha and Neral stations also have 1×25 Wp solar-powered water coolers, each with a capacity of storing 150 litres, which use polypropylene filter cartridges, expected to save Rs.1.45 lakh annually.
In addition to this, CSMT station building, Kalyan Railway School, Kalyan Railway Hospital, Kurla and Sanpada Car sheds are also fitted with solar panels, with the anticipated generation to be around 18.73 lakh kWh and saving Rs. 1.45 crore in energy bills.