Rooftop Solar Installations for coaches of Indian Railways

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Jakson showcased its innovative engineering capabilities by successfully integrating solar panels on the roof of 50 coaches of Indian Railways. It was a complex design and engineering challenge to integrate solar panels on the roof of coaches that run up-to speeds of 120 km per hour. Each single coach was installed with twelve high efficiency polycrystalline solar panels. These solar panels were fitted on the rooftop using specially designed U-channels that were welded to the body of the coach. So far 50 coaches have been successfully integrated with solar panels and currently undergoing rigorous performance tests by the Indian Railways. The generated power will be used to power lights and fans inside the coaches for use by the passengers. On completion, this solar PV project will help Indian Railways to offset 221 tonnes of Co2 emissions and also achieve significant savings in diesel costs.

The Client

Indian Railway Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF) is a specialized department of Indian Railways focused on adoption of alternate fuels for use in Indian Railways. The Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks in the world transporting more than 8.1 billion passengers and 1.1 billion tons of freight annually. It operates almost 11,000 trains on a daily basis, of which 7000 are passenger trains and the remaining are goods trains. It is owned and operated by the Government of India, through a dedicated Ministry of Railways. The Indian Railways is considered the lifeline of the country traversing the entire nation with a total laid track of 108,706 kilometres and 7216 stations. It is also one of the largest employers in India with a workforce exceeding 1.5 million people. For administrative purposes, the Indian Railways is divided into 16 zones that cover the entire network across the country with their own geographical area. Each zone is headed by a general manager.

Business Need

In line with its objective to promote use of solar energy in the railways, IROAF decided to commission a pilot solar PV systems project for Diesel Engine Multiple Unit (DEMU) passenger train coaches at the Indian Railways Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai. IROAF was to act as project lead for this project with support from Zonal Railways for performance testing and trials.

As mandated by rules for all government projects in India, IROAF floated a tender to identify firms capable of delivering this project. The tender received lukewarm response from prospective Solar EPC players due to the challenges involved. Only companies with strong engineering expertise in the solar EPC segment participated in the tender.


After examining the solution offered by several solar companies, Jakson Engineers Limited was awarded the contract for executing this project. Broad scope of work included supply, fixing, testing and commissioning of solar PV system on Broad Gauge DEMU coaches on-site at the Indian Railways Integrated Coach Factory in Chennai. Fixing solar panels on the roof of train coaches that operate at top speeds of 90 – 110 kilometres an hour called for innovative engineering. Jakson with its vast expertise and experience in delivering innovative engineering solutions in solar deployed its team of engineers to develop a viable solution for the project. Another challenge was retro-fitting these to already built coaches of the Indian Railways. Retro-fitting is always a big challenge because of multiple constraints. However, the Jakson team was able to develop an innovative solution to fix solar panels atop the coaches that could withstand high wind speeds. The solar panels were bound with wind breakers and fixed atop the coaches with specially designed U-clamps. The clamps were then welded to the body of the coach. A single coach was retrofitted with 16 solar panels, each producing 300 watts in ideal sunny conditions, generating a cumulative power of 4.8 kilowatts for each coach. The generated power will be used to power lights and fans inside the coaches for use by the passengers. This single solar PV project will help Indian Railways reduce carbon-di-oxide emissions of 300 tonnes and save 95 thousand litres of diesel per rake annually.

According to its Vision 2020 document, the Indian Railways plans to meet 10 percent of its energy needs from solar and outlined plans to set up 1000 MW of solar capacity in the country. The successful execution of this project opens up a big opportunity for Jakson and the overall solar industry. As mentioned earlier, the Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world with a fleet consisting of almost 50,000 passenger coaches. Adoption of solar by Indian Railways for all its coaches will open up a big opportunity for solar EPC players. It will also contribute significantly to the environment and the future of the planet by reducing significant amount of carbon emissions.

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Dear Stakeholders

The outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic is a cause of concern for all of us. In these extraordinary circumstances, we at Jakson, are closely monitoring this rapidly evolving scenario and have put in place a slew of measures to ensure business continuity, employee safety so as to minimise impact of any disruptions. We remain deeply committed to our customers/stakeholders/employees and would like to update you on some of these actions:

  • Cross Functional Team - A cross functional team comprising members across various functions has been set up to monitor the situation. This team interacts every day to review customer orders, project sites status, supply chain constraints, review updates and take up risk mitigation actions.
  • Limiting Business Trips – While outstation travel has been suspended temporarily, we are encouraging use of video conferencing/skype etc to provide business continuity.
  • Risk Mitigation Plans – We are closely working with our business teams and developing specific contingency plans to minimise disruptions to all our customers.
  • Work from Home for Employees – For the safety of our employees, we are encouraging work from home, while at the same time ensuring sufficient access to data & technology. We also have a skeleton staff presence by rotation supporting the operations wherever its possible
  • Social Distancing – At our offices, strict guidelines are in place to use teleconferencing / video conferencing facilities so as to limit face to face contact. Individual meetings, as and when situation improves, will be limited to 4 people with adequate precautions of maintaining distance. We have a visitor policy for all Jakson facilities and we are encouraging use of alternative communication methods till such time situation normalises.
  • Hygiene & Safety - We are ensuring that we provide a healthy and clean environment to all our employees & visitors wherever premises are not in lockdown. All our facilities are maintaining the highest standards of EHS, keeping premises clean & disinfected, ensuring availability of hand sanitisers in sufficient quantities and providing all employees with masks.
  • Regular Employee Communications - We are ensuring regular employees communications, that update them on the dos and don’ts of keeping safe and healthy. There are also regular advisories on the evolving situation so as to ensure, all guidelines from the govt & ministry of health are complied for from time to time.
  • Employee Motivation - In these testing times, we continue to assure our employees and their families, of our commitment & support irrespective of anticipated business disruptions.
  • Stepping up CSR Activities - We are fully cognisant of the global & India impact of this pandemic and are therefore gearing up to commit a heightened level of participation and support to society through our CSR initiatives. We will keep you updated on these initiatives as well.

Jakson has a rich heritage of 70 years, which has been built on principles of strong commitment, trust & relationship. We wish to reiterate this and remain committed in the belief that together we will tide over the current situation.

We thank you for your association and support.

Warm Regards,

Sameer Gupta, CMD & Sundeep Gupta, VCMD