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CEL starts installing rooftop solar panels at rly stations

| | New Delhi | in Sunday Pioneer

The state owned Central Electronics Limited (CEL) has undertaken a mega solar energy capacity building for the Indian Railways. It is part of the national transporter’s plans to use renewable energy by adding 1,000 MW of solar energy.

The work of installations of Crystalline Flexible Panel, new lighter technology than the conventional heavier panels, has begun on rooftops of the platforms and on the train coaches which will make trains self reliant to draw energy to run its lights, fans and above all the air conditioning units.

CEL Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) Nalin Singhal said while new train coaches and rail infrastructure would have inbuilt solar panels the older and existing ones would be retrofitted. CEL is a unit of the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

“The objective is to conserve energy for future. Railway network could be the biggest capacity builder in this area and we have started with newer technology to install solar panels on platforms, station premises and more significantly train coaches. Railway is shifting to energy efficient system and CEL could have a big role in this movement,” Singhal told The Pioneer in a exclusive interview.

CEL, under the leadership of Singhal, for the first time ever since its inception in 1974 has achieved a double figure profit when the Centre was considering to sell of this Sahibabad based unit like many other sick PSUs.

While the net profit of CEL in 2015-16 was Rs 8.56 crore, in the fiscal year 2016-17 the net profit recorded was almost double at Rs 16.82 crore. In its heydays CEL had also received financial grants.

Of the total of about 8000 stations across the country, there are 750 railway stations in northern India which is blessed with abundant sunlight round the year and solar power.

The railways is working on an ambitious plan to reduce its dependence on conventional fuels and cut down energy bill, is planning to award 400 Megawatt (MW) of solar energy generation capacity in the current financial year.

Talking further on the subject of solar energy, Nalin Singhal, who also had an eventful stint at Railway’s catering and tourism arm, IRCTC, said that ever since he took over his first move was to make the CEL unit a Energy Positive Complex and he has been successful in this object.

“The entire manufacturing unit, its office accommodations, lightening, air conditioning units consumes solar energy and we are able to save power in a big way,” Singhal said.

“CEL is pioneer in the country in the field of Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) and it has developed the technology with its own R&D efforts. Its Solar products have been qualified to International Standards,” Singhal who was recipient of the prestigious “Leadership Innovation Excellence Award” this year.

Besides all efforts in turning around the sick CEL, Singhal has taken the task of generating mass awareness in solar energy to the common people by developing the country’s first Solar Technology Park in its campus in Ghaziabad.

According to the CMD, CEL besides already developing solar empowered vehicles, is now working on solar panels which could be laid as roads, pavements, parking lot roof tops, bus shelters which has the greatest potential to tap the solar power. Some of the beautification works through solar lights and road pavements has been undertaken in the Lutyens’ Delhi likely to be commissioner shortly.




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