The 5.6 km long Bandra-Worli Sea Link will soon be harnessed to solar energy with a bid to pave way for green energy and to save on electricity bills. Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has already floated bids for the appointment of new toll operator who will also be responsible for the installation of solar panels. The solar panels are expected to be installed by March and the system is expected to be functional by April. The term of the current operator, MEP Infrastructure, will end in February.
According to MSRDC officials, the move of shifting towards green energy is in line with the Centre’s policy on renewable energy and it aims to reduce the expenditure of the electricity bill by 65 per cent. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director of MSRDC stated that, “We have floated tenders to appoint a contractor to operate and maintain the sea link and to install solar panels, which will generate electricity to power it.”
The current electricity bill for Sea Link- which includes toll plazas as well as an operation and control centre is provided at an annual cost of around Rs 1.10 crore. “With solar power, we expect to generate 355 kilowatts (KW) of energy, which will illuminate the cable-stayed portion, the street lights, the toll plazas and the operation and command centre,” an official said to Hindustan Times.
Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which was opened to traffic in 2009 is a part of the larger plan of the state government to upgrade city’s road transportation network. The main aim of creating Bandra-Worli Sea Link was to provide an additional outlet from city to the suburbs.
The panels will be used to illuminate 50 streetlights, toll booths, command centre, aviation obstruction signal and suspended cables.