Solar energy continues to become more integrated into common energy use. In several locations in the United States, solar panels on homes are a common sight. That was not the case 20 years ago. In India, something very uncommon is occurring and it may reflect the future of solar energy in the world. Trains with solar-powered coaches have arrived. With solar power as a source of energy, there won’t be as much of a need for diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is expensive. Solar energy could provide a massive cost-saving solution in the travel and train industry.
India now appears to be the test platform for solar-powered trains. Indian Railways is the company launching the initiative.
The rollout of the newly solar-powered trains starts in the suburban section of New Delhi. While the solar-powered generators were likely tested thoroughly long before their debut on actual in-service trains, there are probably some bugs to be worked out. This is why the rollout starts slow and expands over time. A massive rollout would not likely be wise since revisions and improvements may be necessary. Hopefully, for the success of the program, any necessary improvements will be minor ones.
Solar-powered vehicles, planes, trains, and more have been in various stages of planning and development for years. The lack of viable technology contributed to progress being slow. Significant interest and investment dollars in solar energy have advanced technology greatly leading to the arrival of solar-powered trains. A success in India could harken the expansion of these trains worldwide, a welcome advancement to be sure.