Hyderabad, one of the top Indian cities for startups and entrepreneurs, recently unveiled a 23-kilometer cycling track along the Outer Ring Road (ORR) with the aim of promoting eco-friendly transportation and sustainable energy practices.
The Healthway Cycling Track, divided into two stretches from TSPA to Nanakramguda and Narsingi to Kollur, is not only beneficial for cycling but it is also a symbol of innovative energy use with its 16,000 solar panels installed on the roof.
According to KT Rama Rao, the Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, this initiative represents India's first solar-covered cycle track, capable of generating a robust 16 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 32,000 streetlights or illuminate 800 kilometers of city streets.
Financial and environmental implications of the solar-powered track
The investment in the solar panels, a key feature of the track, is expected to be recovered within six years, making the entire project financially self-sustaining within 15 years.
The solar panels will generate 16 megawatts of electricity, which can power numerous streetlights and illuminate extensive stretches of city streets.
It's worth mentioning that the initiative not only supports the city's commitment to reducing carbon emissions but also positions it as a pioneer in creating eco-friendly cycling tracks. Furthermore, the track, which will be open 24/7, provides five access points, ensuring it is a vital and accessible part of the city's infrastructure.
A Glimpse into the making of India's first solar roof cycling track
The Rs 100-crore cycling track project, a collaborative effort of the Hyderabad Growth Corridor Limited (HGCL) and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), was designed and executed by Hyderabad-based KMV Projects Limited.
The project was inspired by South Korea’s solar bike highway, the track is divided into two stretches — the blue and pink lines, each providing a dedicated space for cyclists with three lanes of 1.5 m each.
Notably, The new cycle track provides cyclists access to a range of amenities, including parking, food stalls, repair shops, rental stations, and first aid stations, at five access points along the route. Additionally, 50 CCTV cameras have been installed at various points to ensure safety and security.
Addressing challenges and innovating solutions
According to SouthFirst, The installation of the elevated solar panels on the Outer Ring Road presented several challenges, including dealing with the varying terrain and ensuring consistent energy generation despite fluctuating radiation levels.
The team employed a 3D model of the terrain to maintain the roof's continuity and engaged in on-site precision engineering and fabrication to meet the unique structural demands.
The proejct also involved experts from educational institutions to ensure the design of the panels was customized and modular pieces were created, addressing both the need for renewable energy and promoting eco-friendly transportation options.