BY BROOKLYN PINHEIRO
Decorated in green and orange balloons and chains of flowers, India’s first solar powered train hit the rails on July 14th leaving from Sfdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi.
The train is one of six using sun power for electrical needs. Lights, dashboards, fans and all other electronics will all be powered by clean energy leaving only the train’s locomotives continuing to use diesel fuel.
The new Diesel Electrical Multiple Units have 16 rooftop panels that will store energy during peak sunshine hours for later use.
Replacing diesel with clean energy, even just for the electrical components of the train, will take nine tons of carbon emissions out of the air per train per year.
The specifically designed panels generate 7, 200 kilowatts of energy a year for the rail service. They had to be specifically designed by Jackson Engineering Limited in order to not slow down the train.
“Our engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of this rooftop solar project,” Sundeep Gupta, vice chairman and managing director of Jackson Engineering Limited told Business Standard.
While six trains are in testing the plan is to have 250 partially solar powered trains throughout Kalkata.
India has the fourth largest rail network in the world and carries 23 million riders a day. At such a scale making changes towards being eco-friendly will have positive consequences for the country as a whole.
According the Reuters, India is the worlds third largest polluter emitting 2,274 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. However, things are getting better. These solar powered trains are just one example of India making changes towards more environmentally conscious options. One of the largest moves is International Finance Corporation investing six billion dollars over the next five year in various environmental initiatives throughout the country, focusing largely on creating a green housing industry.