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Indian Railways Plans 1,000 Megawatts of Solar Energy Projects

According to reports, Indian Railways plans to tap the sun for energy needs so that it can reduce its dependence on electricity generated by fossil fuels.

The rail network plans 1,000 megawatts of solar-power projects in the next five years, Minister Suresh Prabhu said in parliament on Thursday. Developers can use the railway land and buildings to set up solar panels, he said. The minister was presenting the railway budget for the year beginning in April.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is asking state-run companies to start investing in clean energy as world’s second-most populous nation targets 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022. India’s armed forces will set up 300 megawatts of photovoltaics by 2019.

 “Solar power has become cost competitive,” said Bharat Bhushan Agrawal, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New Delhi. “It is one of the best sources to generate electricity in remote and off-grid areas.”

Indian Railways will use solar power to light up stations and office buildings.

The minister said he plans to purchase power by soliciting bids from generators and power exchanges, resulting in savings of 30 billion rupees ($485 million). Funds will be available for the solar project, Prabhu said.

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