Visakhapatnam: Close on the heels of Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) opting for solar power, the Waltair railway division is making a foray into tapping non-conventional energy by setting up rooftop solar panels on Vizag Railway Station and its service buildings in the city.
Waltair division is aiming at putting in place rooftop solar power system by the end of January or February 2017. It is the first among the East Coast Railway stations to take up the initiative.
The division is planning to generate up to 1 mw at peak by installing the rooftop solar panels at Vizag Railway station and five other buildings including the office of the divisional railway manager, railway hospital, new coaching complex, diesel and electrical loco sheds.
The project is estimated to cost around Rs 8 crore and the developer will be responsible for designing, engineering, procurement, erection (including civil and structural works), installation, testing and commissioning of the solar PV systems including operation and maintenance (O&M) of the systems for a period of 25 years after commissioning of the project.
Waltair division officials said as per initial estimates, the installation of solar PV panels is expected to result in savings of Rs 20 lakh per annum. “The final savings will be known after the bids are received when we will know the cost of electricity from the solar panels. Currently, APEPDCL is providing power at around Rs 7 per unit, so we expect cost of power from solar to be lower than this, which will result in savings for us,” noted a Waltair division source.
Confirming this to TOI, Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee said, “Waltair division will be the first under East Coast Railway to have solar PV systems.” She said the division would finalize the agreement within a month after the developer is selected through bidding process in mid-August.
According to Waltair division officials, the request for qualification were invited in May this year following which five applicants including SunCraft Energy, Reylon Solar, Vikram Solar, Essell Infra and ReNew Solar were shortlisted. The finalization of the developer for the project is expected to be completed by September following which it would take around four to five months for installation of the systems.