Kerala’s first solar ferry boat was inaugurated by Union Minister for Power Piyush Goyal in the Kottayam district of Kerala. Mr. Goyal said that the Central Government would extend its support to all such projects that aimed to promote environment friendly means of transport. Mr. Goyal launched the Vaikom – Cherthala – Thavanakadavu ferry service in the presence of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Kerala has a coastline of about 590 kms and inland waterways of 1548 kms. Thus, waterways are very very important for the common people for all their daily activities. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the Kerala Government has taken up the development of Kerala waterways very seriously and the launch of Solar Powered boats is a step towards developing the water transport business. The common people of Kerala depend a lot on using the waterways for their daily commute and business.
The boat runs with an electric motor that is supported by a lithium battery. The ferry boat is about 7 meters wide and 20 meters long and can travel at a speed of 14 km/ hr. The boat can seat upto 75 people. The solar powered boat is twice as fast as the ordinary boats and thus can transport passengers in half the amount of time. This allows the boats to have twice as many rides per day, thus doubling their revenue and lowering their fuel costs.
The boat costs about Rs 1.5 crores to manufacture and was built on the basis of research done at the ship technology department of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT).
The first solar powered boat of India was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Power production from solar energy has gone up from 2000 Mega Watts in 2014 to 9500 Mega Watts in 2016. The Government aims to take this upto 1 lakh Mega Watts by 2020.