BHEL Commissions World’s 1st Solar Plant for Rail Traction Applications

BHEL Commissions World’s 1st Solar Plant for Rail Traction Applications

BHEL has successfully commissioned a 1.7 MW solar plant in Madhya Pradesh for the Indian Railways, with the power being used for traction applications.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has successfully commissioned a 1.7 MW solar PV plant at Bina in Madhya Pradesh for the Indian Railways, with the plant directly feeding power to the traction systems of Indian Railways. The project is a landmark achievement in the history of solar power, as this is the first time that solar power is being directly used for traction applications.

Notably, with this, BHEL has achieved direct injection of single-phase 25 kV power to traction substation of Indian Railways.

The project has been jointly conceptualised and developed by BHEL and Indian Railways. BHEL’s scope in the project envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, construction, erection, testing, commissioning and O&M based on the inputs provided by Indian Railways. The project has been installed and commissioned by BHEL in just 4.5 months from the date of joint land survey with Indian Railways for the Bina location (excluding time lost due to COVID-19 disturbances).

This is a pilot project by the company developed on turnkey basis on vacant land of Indian Railways. The concept to design and engineering was carried out in less than 1.5 months. The R&D, development, and manufacturing was completed entirely in-house at BHEL facilities at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jhansi, and Bhopal. Significantly, for the first time development of single-phase, 850 kW solar inverters and 400 V/25 kV dry-type transformers for outdoor duty have been done. Other solar plant equipments such as PV modules, SCADA system and HT switchgear have also been supplied by BHEL’s manufacturing units located at Bengaluru and Bhopal respectively.

“The project is a unique example of the joint working of Indian Railways and BHEL in the field of rail transportation. This development marks a major step in merging the advantages of renewable energy in the railway sector in an unprecedented way. With this successful demonstration by BHEL, Indian Railways’ objective of turning its huge land bank into captive PV power plants for supporting the Railway traction grid without the support of utilities & the Railways’ initiative of ‘Go Green’ by 2030, will become a reality,” the company issued in a statement.

Recently, we had reported that the Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) – a JV of the Ministry of Railways and RITES Ltd, had issued a tender on behalf of the Indian Railways for setting up of 1 GW ground-mounted solar power plants on railway land along the railway tracks pan India. The last date for submission of responses to the Request for Qualification (RFQ) and the Request for Proposal (RfP) is September 2, 2020.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for