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Solar power plans at railway workshop getting bigger

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Taking another of its eco-friendly initiative a step forward, the Golden Rock Railway Workshop at Tiruchi has proposed to tap solar power in a big way in order to meet its energy requirements and cut down on power bills.

The plan is to instal solar plants atop select buildings within the sprawling workshop, which carries out periodic overhaul of broad gauge passenger coaches and diesel locomotives.

Having already obtained the nod for installation of a 12-kilowatt solar plant, the workshop recently obtained in-principle approval from Southern Railway headquarters to establish a bigger one.

The proposed solar plants would be put up as part of Rs. one crore fund earmarked to take up eco-friendly initiaitives, according to workshop authorities. At present, the workshop has a one-kilowatt solar plant that was installed as a pilot project earlier to illuminate the chamber of the chief workshop manager.

The exercise of putting in place a 12-kilowatt solar plant has been set in motion, a senior official said. Works on installing the 60-kilowatt plant will be taken up in the coming months.

The workshop has identified a few buildings inside its premises such as the Basic Training Centre and Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory, where grid-connected solar photovoltaic plants will be installed for power requirements.

The plants will be installed depending on the capacity and space requirement, the official said. The 12-kilowatt plant will be installed by July-end, and the 60-kilowatt plant by year-end. Plans are also afoot to establish a solar thermal heating system for hot water requirements at the workshop.

A detailed proposal for installation of a 500-kilowatt plant is awaiting sanction from Southern Railway headquarters. In addition to overhauling around 1,000 passenger coaches and about 100 diesel locomotives every year, the workshop also manufactures container wagons for Container Corporation of India, besides overhauling passenger coaches and oil-fired steam locomotives used in the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as and when it is due for overhaul.

As a eco-friendly measure, the workshop has been reusing treated water for component cleaning by creating recycling facilities besides creating artificial pond and rain water harvesting wells.

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