The West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) is set to generate power through solar panels on depot roofs to recharge its electric vehicles. The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) has conducted a study and found significant savings in annual electricity bills.
In a study at the WBTC Kasba depot, TERI found highly feasible strategies for electrification of public transport in Kolkata by powering the charging stations at major WBTC depots through solar energy. Actual site survey and measurements of power consumption patterns were performed as part of the study.
At a discussion on electric mobility, organised by the British Deputy High Commission and Bengal Chamber of Commerce on Friday, transport secretary N S Nigam hinted at significant increase of its electric bus fleet with its policy shift from Capex to Opex.
In the Capex system, the state transport undertaking has to buy electric buses out right. In the Opex model, WBTC needs to pay on per-km basis, which will make the total cost of operation half or even less than that of conventional internal-combustion engine buses, or the fuel-run vehicles. WBTC, which now runs 80 electric buses, has decided not to add to the diesel buses. “We have developed a fairly good charging infrastructure, but to increase the number of electric buses, we need to boost the infrastructure,” said a transport official.
TERI has proposed that the roof on the depot sheds be used to install solar-power panels. “GIS-based estimation of the plant capacity on the available rooftop area has been found to be enough to power the buses plying during the day,” said Shashank Vyas, associate fellow (electricity and fuel), TERI. WBTC can further save on its annual power bills if the depots were to opt for CESC’s time-of-day tariff, under which the electricity prices are different, depending on the peak and non-peak hours.
Alekhya Datta, fellow & area convenor, electricity and fuels convenor, TERI, who conceived and performed the study, along with Ram Krishan and Neshwin Rodrigues of TERI, said