Solar Powered Trains

We have been keenly interested in replacing the fuels we use now to greener and cleaner options. The reasons are clear. The world is facing crisis. And we need to create a better and healthy future. It has been a constant effort to cut down on fuel especially in the areas where it requires maximum usage and cannot be necessarily avoided.

Every year we require huge amount of fuel to be burned during transportation as in railway communication. Various countries have come up with the solution of running them on cleaner fuel like the solar power.


It has been an initiative in various countries to run trains that use solar energy. The basic mechanism involves installing large number of solar panels on the roof top. While there train runs these panels capture solar energy. This is converted to electrical energy which is used to run the train. Also there same enemy is utilized in running the fans and lights in the compartment.


Running rails on solar power has the advantage that rails offer low rolling friction and thus are easier and require less energy expenditure. Various other types of machines and technologies can be involved which again will use the solar energy. GPS systems can be installed for better and efficient management. Remote control systems and sliding doors can be used for better safety purposes. ABS brakes would raise the maximum velocity of freight cars to 160 km/h, therefore, improving productivity. Not only some on board solar panels have been installed but also in certain cases off board panels are used for similar purposes.


It has not been a hidden story that India has been constantly and very aggressively trying to replace the current fuels generating huge amount of pollution apart from being costly and a burden on the nature. There has been an increasing attempt to replace these technologies.
Earlier in 2015, only one train in India was installed with such panels in just one coach for demonstration purposes. The efficiency of the experiment was fairly good.  Recently a train was run that had solar panels installed all over its roof across the entire length of the train. The train has six coaches with each coach having twelve solar panels. This is called the DEMU and is used as an example for the demonstration of the usage of these solar energy units in running a train. Each solar panel will generate 300 watt of electricity, which means 3.6KW of power per coach. As said by the Indian railway, it was seen that the amount of electricity generated could help in running the fans and lights in the compartment but it was not enough to run an air conditioner with that power.

This train is believed to reduce the usage of some 90,800 liters of diesel that is spent by trains. These further promises to reduce the release of carbon dioxide as the by-product by approximately 239 tonnes per year.
Soon in Future India plans to launch a solar oriented and solar powered train which can actually make use of this very power to run its air conditioning systems.


There are various advantages of using such a technology. It provides various options increasing efficiency and providing better functionality at a very cost effective price. Another advantage is that the running of the devices in train coaches makes use of the Direct Current. This is directly provided by the photovoltaic cells. There is no requirement of conversion of the alternative currents to direct currents. So there DC grids directly supply the various electrical appliances. This cuts down on the costs of the machinery and also makes the task easier.

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