Rakesh Ranjan reports in the Daily Mail India (2/6/15):
"Indian Railways is soon going to materialise its ambitious plan of harnessing solar energy to run trains. The prototype of the solar power-enabled coach is undergoing trials, and soon the entire train will be fitted with solar panels, officials said. They said that while solar power will significantly bring down diesel consumption, it will also prove to be cost-effective. ...
According to studies, a train using solar power can reduce diesel consumption by up to 90,000 litres per year and also bring down the carbon dioxide emission by over 200 tonnes. As per the plan, the train would be pulled by conventional diesel-run engines while solar panels will provide all the internal electricity needs for lights and fans on both AC and non-AC coaches. Officials said India has huge solar power potential, with a good amount of sunlight available for a major part of the day round the year. Harnessing solar power to power Indian Railways is more feasible and cost-effective. The clear motive of the project is to cut down on the railways’ fuel bill, which is the second-largest component of expenditure after the employee salaries ..."
Solar panels on the demonstration project train.
The red sheath along the edge of the panels is presumably there for aesthetic reasons but solar panels are more efficient if they can easily dissipate unwanted heat.
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