Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) has ambitious plans to expand its solar power generation capacity in the coming months by installing solar plants on rooftops and in parking areas.
Currently, CMRL generates approximately 12-15 per cent of its energy from a 6.4 Mwp (megawatt peak) solar rooftop plant distributed across various locations within the phase I and phase I extension network.
According to CMRL officials, they have issued two tenders to facilitate the installation of additional solar plants. One tender aims to set up a 5.74 Mwp solar rooftop system on station structures, while the other seeks to establish solar power plants with a capacity of 3 Mwp in the parking areas of the stations.
The existing 6.4 Mwp solar rooftop infrastructure has not only helped reduce the organisation's carbon footprint but has also resulted in substantial financial savings.
CMRL erected a 380 KWp solar power plant on the rooftops of two- and four-wheeler parking buildings at three Metro stations: Anna Nagar East, Pachaiyappa's College, and Nehru Park, in January 2019.
CMRL erected a 1,120-KWp solar rooftop at two elevated Metro stations - Alandur and St Thomas Mount - as well as the ground portions of Koyambedu station in November 2018.
Similarly, 103-KWp solar systems were erected in the auxiliary buildings of four subterranean Metro stations in October 2018: Thirumangalam, Anna Nagar Tower, Anna Nagar East, and Shenoy Nagar.
According to a CMRL, these solar plant projects were completed with Zero Capital Investment and are based on the model under the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) Scheme on a monthly tarrif basis.
One official stated, "Through the utilisation of power generated by these solar plants, we have managed to save approximately Rs six crores in power bills so far," reports The Hindu.
CMRL conducted a comprehensive study to determine suitable locations and capacities for these solar plants.
The forthcoming power plants will further enhance their capacity. An official explained, "The selected contractors will be responsible for designing, engineering, manufacturing, and not only installing but also operating and maintaining these plants. The rooftop installations are expected to be completed within a year. However, those installed in parking spaces will take more time, as we need to construct the parking shed structures before setting up these facilities."
Chennai Metro Phase I
The Chennai Metro Rail Limited started its commercial operations on 29 June 2015.
Phase I of the Chennai Metro Rail project covers a length of 45.046 km network and consists of two corridors i.e. Corridor-I from Washermenpet to Airport (23.085 km), Corridor-2 from Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount (21.961 km).
About 55 per cent of the corridors in Phase I are underground and the remaining are elevated. Out of 32 stations 13 are elevated and the remaining 19 are underground. Inter-corridor interchange stations are available in Alandur (elevated) and Chennai Central (underground) respectively.
Chennai Metro Phase II
Phase II expansion has been planned for a length of 116 km network with 128 number of stations. It consists of three corridors. Corridor-3 from Madhavaram to SIPCOT, Corridor-4 from Lighthouse to Poonamalle Bypass, and Corridor-5 from Madhavaram to Sholinganallur. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 63,246 crore.
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