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Mumbai-Nagpur E-Way to be first solar highway

Published : Jun 20, 2016, 1:13 am IST
Updated : Jun 20, 2016, 1:13 am IST

If things go according to plan, the state-run Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will make chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ pet project, Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway, the first

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If things go according to plan, the state-run Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will make chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ pet project, Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway, the first solar highway of the country.

The MSRDC is considering to pave the 744-km-long Expressway with solar panels along the entire stretch, which will not only generate solar power for the whole Expressway but also for the neighbouring villages parallel to the alignment of the proposed E-way.

The pre-feasibility report for the Expressway prepared by the MSRDC, and submitted to the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), has proposed non-conventional energy sources like wind and solar panel as proposed infrastructure along the alignment of the Expressway.

According to MSRDC officials, several international institutions have also proposed to install solar panels on the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway.

Subsequently, “We have asked the private institutes to prepare a presentation on the proposal of solar panels. The presentation will give us a rough idea as to how much megawatts of solar power can be generated and also as to where the solar panels will be installed. There are many options like on the median (middle) of the alignment or on the sideways or on the land surface,” said Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director, MSRDC.

Back in 2013, a research paper named International Journal of Energy, Environment and Engineering had proposed that highways’ in India could be converted into solar highways if technology is used efficiently. The paper also said that the same can generate 4,418 megawatts of solar power once installed on the four-lane 5,839-km long Golden Quadrilateral Highway, connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, “In case of solar panels installed on the land surface, tempered-glass panels offer asphalt-like traction, which has been experimented in many foreign countries when building solar highways. However, we are still in the planning stage as to how the solar panels can be installed,” said an MSRDC official.

Further, according to MSRDC officials, the body has proposed that the power generated out of the solar panels can be used at night for lighting up the Expressway or the state can supply it to neighbouring villages along the alignment.

The MSRDC has also proposed to that the infrastructure of solar panels be exploited commercially for revenue generation.

Presently, the MSRDC is taking regular review meetings with the five consultants appointed that are using drones to prepare feasibility and detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed Expressway. “We are discussing on the alignment matrix where we are calculating as to how much land belonging to agriculture, barren, forest, defense, railway crossings and major bridges will have to be tackled for the alignment to be finalised,” added the MSRDC official.