Encroachment along railway tracks in India is very common. To curb the practice, Indian Minister for Railways, Piyush Goyal wants to use this land to generate solar power. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)
- Solar power plants will be installed to utilize vacant land owned by Indian Railways
- These will be set up by NLC India at its own cost, while Railways will buy power from these plants
- One reason for adding solar is to protect the land from encroachment
- In case Railways wants to use the land for something else, NLC India can shift the equipment
- Broad framework for this venture has been prepared but the agreement is yet to be signed between Indian Railways and NLC India
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The Indian Railways wants NLC India to set up solar power plants on vacant land property. The two are soon going to tie-up for the purpose, informed Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal, who was prior the Minister for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Goyal has instructed the department to ‘cover’ all vacant railway land with for PV sets in order to save it from encroachment. This land stretches over thousands of acres. A broad framework has been prepared for the agreement yet to be signed.
Goyal told local media, “We have existing platforms that need to be expanding on both sides because we are going in for longer rakes. NLC will do the same, create a roof over the platform extension, and we will have a different rate of power for the investment they will be doing for that.”
If Railways wants its land back, NLC will shift the equipment elsewhere. If this happens during the payback period, Railways will bear the cost for the move.
NLC will shell out money from its own coffers for this project, with railways buying power from these solar plants.
Indian Railways is planning to set up 1 GW of solar power capacity by 2020-2021 to meet its energy requirement, along with 200 MW of wind power capacity. It recently commissioned its first larger solar power plants of 5 MW cumulative capacity across four railway stations in Delhi (see Large Rooftop PV For Indian Railways).
Primarily known as lignite mining and power generation company, NLC India is aiming to become a diversified energy company. Its current solar power generation capacity is only 10 MW, but it wants to have a total of 3,990 MW of PV by 2025.