The railway ministry has decided to establish solar plants of 8.8 MW capacity at railway stations, office buildings and level crossing gates throughout the country.
These include 10 KWp solar panels each at 200 stations, which will be carried out under PPP model, with a well-defined policy.
The installations are expected to begin by the end of the year.
Commuters are of the opinion that Southern Railway should be given priority where there is a need for better lighting. Majority of the suburban railway stations on the Chennai routes do not have sufficient lighting.
Lighting is poor at stations beyond Avadi and after Ennore that fall under Southern Railway division. Railways have installed CFL lamps after getting complaint in major stations recently. After solar power installation, railways can ensure uninterrupted power supply.
Priority should be given to sensitive stations in terms of commuter security on the suburban network to install solar panels, said, S Mohanram, former member, railway users’ consultative committee.
Once receiving the circular from Ministry, Southern Railway officials would start identifying the stations. Grade A stations like Mambalam, Tambaram and Perambur may get solar panels.
The circular will have details about modalities for the project. Stations will be identified and tenders floated only after the communication reaches, said a senior official of Southern Railway.
Railways should take care to prevent delays while giving contracts for PPP. The tenders should be priced to attract contractors and the terms and conditions should be laid out in such a way that the project would benefit passengers and not the company which takes up the contract, Mohanram said.