The Indian Railways had just announced its plan of going green in a big way. The initiatives include the introduction of new generation electric and diesel locomotives, use of bio-diesel and procurement of minimum three-star rated products, which are all showing results in saving energy.
According to the ministry of railways, about one hundred and fifty of the Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) machines employed in Railways are run on solar energy.
Solar energy has also been employed for heating water in running rooms and few offices also employ solar panels for electricity usage.
The policy guidelines on renewable energy source use on the Railways includes solar energy for signalling, UTS centers, PRS centers, emergency lighting load at railway stations and for solar water heaters to be provided.
Proliferation is based on techno-economic considerations. Given the massive infrastructure that the Indian Railways posses this might be a huge opportunity for a number of consultants in the solar area to provide rather innovative solutions. Solar has been identified as a big contributor, given the fact that a number of areas where the system is already deployed/needs to be deployed as a do not have access to grid connectivity.
Further, given so many players trying enter into the market with a lot of solutions like hybrids etc for cell phone towers it seems like a lot of those solutions could also be adapted to the Railways.