The Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) has issued a request for qualification to set up approximately 32.56 MW of rooftop solar systems at various railway establishments and stations across India. The project will be set up under the public-private partnership model. According to the tender, the bidder may be a single entity or a group of entities coming together to implement the project. The rooftop solar systems will be set without any subsidy or viability gap funding support from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy or the Indian Railways. The last date for the submission of bids is December 9, 2019.
Indian Railways (IR) plans to be a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. To this end, it intends to increase the use of renewable energy in its operations. This presents a huge potential for renewable energy development, particularly solar and biofuel. While railway premises offer suitable sites for solar installations, the bulk use of diesel as fuel provides an opportunity for biodiesel.
IR’s overall experience with renewables has been positive so far. However, the maintenance of solar panels installed over a large area has been a challenge for the utility. To this end, the PPP model is being adopted for renewable energy development. The PPP model ensures the implementation of the latest technologies such as compact substations.
To achieve 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2030, the organisation needs to ensure that even smaller stations attract developer interest. It also needs to fulfil its 8 per cent renewable purchase obligation, overcome interstate transmission challenges through open access, implement net metering and attain an optimum energy mix of wind and solar. However, there are several other challenges that need to be addressed.
Read our spotlight story on the growing uptake of solar and biodiesel in Indian Railways here: