In the wake of climate-change mitigation strategies, the world is looking forward to sustainable solutions to achieve various goals such as- developing infrastructure, boosting economy, eradicating food scarcity, etc. Especially for a developing country like India, these strategies hold utmost importance. Developing countries have a long way to go- they witness setting up of new industries, afforestation, environment conservation, growing population and a range of such issues. Therefore, among other resources, tremendous power is required for development.
Currently, nearly half of India’s power comes from fossil-fuel generated energy like coal-based plants accounting for 55.6% of the total energy produced. With efforts, the contribution of hydro power is about 13%, wind power- 10.2% and solar power just 9.2%.
Recently, the South Central Railways (SCR) have declared that its 13 stations have achieved ‘energy-neutral’ status. The SCR is also the first to come up with this concept.
What does it mean?
It means that these stations can fulfill 100% of their energy requirements by tapping solar energy, thus using renewable sources of energy rather than conventional non-renewable sources such as coal and petroleum.
It is done by installing solar photovoltaic (SPV) panels on the rooftops of station buildings. These panels are integrated with on-grid or off-grid solar energy plants which ultimately provide energy which can be used for daily requirements such as operating fans, lights, pumps, etc. thus, it is an eco-friendly concept based on larger concept of carbon-neutral buildings.
The total capacity of the installed panels is 99 kWp. It is expected that 1.3 lakh units of energy would be generated annually and will lead to annual saving of 13 lakh. This step will help reduce the carbon footprint of these stations.
What is carbon footprint?
Carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions released in the atmosphere by individuals, organisation, buildings, cars, etc.
Scope of implementation
This idea can be incorporated across many states in India such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. as India has tremendous potential for harnessing solar energy due to its geographical location. Being a tropical country, India has a long photoperiod of about 3000 hours which amounts to 5000 trillion kWh of energy.