KOCHI: In a bold move towards sustainability, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KRML) is mulling employing solar power to meet its power requirements. KRML’s managing director, Loknath Behera, told TNIE that it has plans to set up solar parks in Alappuzha and Kasaragod.
“The idea is to produce 100 per cent power using solar energy. Around 45-50 acres of land in Kasaragod will be utilised to build a solar park,” Behera said. The proposal is under the government’s consideration, and he hopes that it will be approved soon.
“A similar park will also be set up in Alappuzha to generate electricity solely for the operations of Kochi Water Metro,” Behera added.
The move is part of the company’s step towards reducing operational costs to zero by the next financial year. At present, the solar park at KMRL’s Muttom yard contributes 56 per cent of its energy requirement. With the commissioning of new solar parks, KMRL hopes to meet all its power requirements.
“We have plans to generate over 13 megawatts of power from the upcoming solar park at Kasaragod. The discussions regarding the Alappuzha solar plant are in their initial stage,” said an official. The total solar energy generated by KMRL’s solar plants from April 2022 to March 2023 is 1,37,04,345 KWH.
Apart from the solar panels, the metro trains also generate electricity using a regenerative braking system (RBS). According to officials, on average, 40 per cent of the total energy utilised is regenerated using the RB system in metro trains.
“The electricity generated in braking is fed back into the system and is utilised by other trains that are in the loop at different locations on the track and are not in braking mode. In addition to saving electricity, regenerative braking provides additional benefits in the form of lesser wear on wheels and brake pads,” said a KMRL official.
According to a source, KMRL has around 100 acres of government land where solar park projects are planned. “As per the initial proposal, Kochi Water Metro Limited would require 16–17 MW to operate its fleet of 78 electric boats in the 76-kilometre stretch. Therefore, the plan is to develop the solar park as per requirements,” the source added.