Indian Railways eyes power from 1,050MW solar park in Madhya Pradesh

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The Railways aims to increase its electricity procurement in order to reduce its reliance on diesel. Credit: Belur Ashok

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) could auction a solar park of 1,050MW capacity in the state of Madhya Pradesh, from which Indian Railways plans to purchase the power generated.

A note from the state-owned transport giant said that the park would be spread across three districts in Madhya Pradesh. Indian Railways has been enticed by the decline in solar power tariffs, which remained low in the two major auctions from Bhadla at the end of 2017, prompting independent consultant Jasmeet Khurana to say that low tariffs are here to stay.

The Railways was also buoyed by the success of the 750MW Rewa solar park auction in the same state, which not only drew record low tariffs at the time, but also saw Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) agree to purchase power from 180MW of the park, despite being an urban rail network located 800 kilometres north of the power plant.

With Madhya Pradesh the most central state in India, the Railways sees it as a suitable solar park location from which to draw electricity to various regions pan-India. The Railways aim to increase its electricity procurement in order to reduce its reliance on diesel is also a major driver, along with the potential for reduced power costs. The firm also has a state-allocated Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) to fulfil.

Indian Railways plans to set up 5GW of rooftop and utility-scale solar in coming years. Back in December, Indian Railways Finance Corporation issued its inaugural green bond on behalf of Indian Railways — the world’s fourth largest rail network.

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