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Q. Railway stations with solar power: Comment on budget proposal to establish 7000 railway stations with solar power.
Feb 15, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

In budget 2017, central government has proposed to establish about 7000 railway stations with solar power. The government made national goal to have 100 GW of functional solar generation capacity by 2022. The ongoing plans and actions in the solar power sector have potential to rev up solar energy in pan-India.

Analysis-

  • India is facing widespread energy poverty and the lack of quality power in large parts, which resulted into emission of large quantity of greenhouse gases.  
  • If railways leverage land and building space at least for 20 MW of solar capacity in each of the 7,000 stations, it would greatly increase green, renewable power nationally.
  • Currently railways pays highest commercial rates for power, hence sourcing power from solar energy on-site would save money as well as environment. It will be win-win situation for railways. 

Suggestion-

  • Now government must speedily concretise forward-looking plans for solar power at rail stations, and focus on meeting lighting demand in adjoining areas also.
  • Now the Railways is to proactively access funds from the Clean Environment Cess corpus, seek accelerated depreciation, generation-based incentives, etc, and explore other innovative financing options to actualise its solar power targets in a time-bound fashion.

Conclusion-

The government’s decision to establish solar backed railway station is welcome move. It saves railways money as well as protects our environment. Now the Railways must adopt solar power for lighting purposes and, in the process, handsomely boost its market capitalisation.


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