When it comes to harnessing solar in the transport sector, India has made its mark— first, it was Kochi, the first airport in the world to be solar powered and then, the Delhi metro gained recognition for being the first in the globe to tap into solar power. Following in its footsteps, the metro rail in Hyderabad will soon be powered by solar. The plant, fully commissioned on December 26, 2020, is one of the largest behind-the-meter solar projects in India and is a public-private partnership (PPP) project between the Government of Telangana and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Limited. It is expected that the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project will meet 15 per cent of the total electrical consumption through solar power.
According to Prakash Rai, Head, C&I Business at Amp Energy India, the company that has installed a 7.805 MW solar plant supplying power to L&T in Hyderabad, Telangana, for the metro project to supply solar power to its 24 stations and 2 depots in the city, ‘This plant is one of the largest behind the meter projects in the country and will help the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project meet 15 per cent of the total electrical consumption through solar power supplied from this plant. Apart from being commercially viable in terms of savings on power cost, it will reduce approximately 8000 mt of carbon emissions annually.’
Case of Delhi Metro
It was in 2014 that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) decided to explore the possibility of utilizing clean solar energy for its operations. To begin with, rooftop installations were taken up by the DMRC, with a target of 20 mega-watt peak (MWp) by August 2017—this was achieved one month ahead of schedule (in July 2017). The target has now been revised to 50 MWp by December 2022, of which 42.40 MWp has already been achieved till date. All these plants are based on the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) Model and there is no capital investment by the DMRC. In the RESCO model, no capital expenditure or maintenance expenditure is made by the end user.
As per ‘Overview of the RESCO Model in India’, by Ishan Javid and Srijita Jha (January 25, 2021), ‘RESCO model is one of the methods of implementing rooftop solar installations. Under this, a renewable energy service company (‘RESCO’), (i.e., an energy service company that provides energy to consumers from renewable energy sources), develops, installs, finances, operates and owns the rooftop solar power project (‘Project’), and supplies power generated from the Project to the consumer on whose premises the Project is set up (‘Customer’) or to the grid through net metering.’
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