By Mridul Chadha
Indian capital city’s pride, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, has earned yet another achievement by commissioning its first rooftop solar power project at one of its stations.
The project, with an installed capacity of 500 kW, is expected to start generating power from next month. The project is located at a station near the Delhi international airport.
The project will be commissioned and operated under the RESCO — renewable energy services company — model where the Delhi Metro will provide the site for the project while the developer will invest the capital cost for project development. The project operation and maintenance cost will also be borne by the developer. The project has been hailed as the largest rooftop project in the capital under the RESCO model.
Delhi Metro has signed a power purchase agreement with the project developer. However, the terms of this agreement have not been made public. Delhi Metro might get power free of cost after the developer has recovered its capital investment.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation intends to implement similar pilot projects at a few stations before replicating the same across all stations and yards on the network. With the support of GIZ, the DMRC found that its stations and yards can accommodate solar power projects with capacity between 90 kW and 2,500 kW with a network-wide potential of about 52 MW.
The study also suggested the various monetization avenues that DMRC may consider with respect to these power plants. The power generated could be used for in-house use at the stations, sold to nearby advertising hoardings or used for charging electric vehicles in the near the future.
Electricity is a major component of Delhi Metro’s operations. The lifeline of India’s capital city came to a halt during the infamous July 2012 blackout in north India. Due to the commercial nature of its operations, the Delhi Metro attracts a significantly high electricity tariff from the city’s power distribution companies. With a potential to install 52 MW, DMRC could end up generating about 86.5 million units of electricity every year. At current power tariff, DMRC would save about $8 million (?47.6 crore) every year.
DMRC has been known to take innovative sustainability measures. It has implemented an energy recovery mechanism in the braking system of its trains. It was also the first project of its kind to be registered under the UN Clean Development Mechanism for cutting emissions by replacing a large number of private vehicles as means of transport. Recently, it allowed college students to install micro wind turbines at some of the metro stations in a pilot project to harness the wind generated from the fast-moving trains.