Jun 29, 2016

Chennai Metro Rail plans to go 100% Solar in a year

Chennai: Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) plans to go fully solar in phase one by next year. While 1 MW of solar power would be available in a few months as work has already started, the CMRL will have another 8 MW of solar power at its disposal later next year. The plan is not just to make it self-sufficient but also feed the surplus power to the Tangedco grid, officials said.
Solar PV systems would be installed in elevated stations, depot and ancillary buildings of underground stations.

CMRL has estimated the available roof-top area for solar projects to be approximately 40,000 square metres and about 20,000 sq.m. at the depots. They have identified areas in stations along the Koyambedu-Alandur stretch that can be put to use.

The first service of Chennai Metro Rail was started a year ago between Koyambedu and Alandur and the next stretch between Little Mount and Chennai airport is likely to be opened in August end. Chennai Metro Rail has identified spaces for solar generation in the next stretch between Little Mount and Chennai airport too.

For exploring the potential to tap solar energy in the roof spaces of stations, Chennai Metro Rail has floated expression of interest where vendors can look at ways to implementing this project.

“The work on the first project of generating 1 MW power has already started and will be completed in a few months. The 8 MW project may take up to a year. But we are hoping complete it as soon as possible,” an official said.

For the first time, CMRL will be using solar power from the third week of July for its administrative office as well as operating trains. The CMRL has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Su-Kam, a solar power company to install a 1MW grid on the Koyambedu CMRL depot.

It is expected that CMRL will be saving over 1.12 crore each year by using solar power. “We are hoping that Su-Kam will commission the solar power project in our depot by next month. This will be the first solar power unit in CMRL. We are ready to increase the solar power generation up to 8MW and we have expressed our interest,” a senior CMRL official said. The Southern Railway headquarters in Chennai is also setting up a solar power project on its terrace and the power generated will be used for office purpose.

The CMRL has identified around 29 locations with a total rooftop area of 79,759 sq m to install 8MW capacity rooftop solar plant. “We have called for the expression of interest for the project. It will take one or two years to commission the project with 8MW,” the official said.

As per Su-Kam, each unit will be charged at 5.95 and the PPA has been signed for 25 years. The 1MW grid tie solar photovoltaic system on the terrace of the Head Office of Chennai Metro Rail Ltd shall generate over 5000 units of electricity per day.”The entire system comprises 20 units of 50 Kw grid tie string inverters fitted with 3,200 units of 315Wp solar panels,” Venkat Kanna, assistant manager of Su-Kam told.

We believe solar energy is going to play a major role in addressing the energy crisis the country is currently facing. Su-Kam has played a key role in helping organisations go solar and we have been working closely with Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency, he said.