Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has switched from the coal-based thermal power plant to charge its fleet of 386 electric buses from 100% green energy.
Sources informed that normally BEST procures electricity for its consumers from Tata Power, which comes from its coal-based thermal plants. But from now on, BEST is procuring solar power from the grid — with some of it generated by its own consumers who have opted for photovoltaic solar panels — for its fleet.
There is a 40% subsidy for solar rooftop installations in buildings and BEST is catering to 580KWp (Kilowatts peak) of solar power capacity in the island city with financial assistance from the Centre. The solar energy generated by its consumers is transferred to the grid in lieu of which they get benefits in monthly electricity bills.
“We have decided to use only solar and in future, solar-wind or hydro-based energy to power our e-buses,” said BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra. He said that the undertaking will procure adequate solar energy by June 2023 to cater to over 2,100 electric buses, and by 2027, the undertaking plans 100% electrification of its fleet.
Sources in the energy department said that solar power could be procured/purchased at cheaper rates as compared to thermal power and there was a push for generating more renewables in the state in the next five years. According to an estimate, the state plans to generate a total 17,360MW of solar energy in five years.
The BEST has decided to procure only electric AC buses in future with 2,100 e-buses planned by 2022.