Union ministry agrees to fund solar boat project

The centre would bear a lion's share of the project cost of Rs 1.76 crore

Kochi: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has evinced interest in the state’s pilot solar boat project and agreed to extend financial support to roll out more vessels. The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) aims to operate the first solar ferry in the first week of August in the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu section and the construction of the vessel is in the final stages.

“The central ministry wants to make our project the nodal one in the country and agreed to fund it and more such similar initiatives. We’ve submitted the detailed project report through the state government organization, Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT),” said Mr Shaji V. Nair, SWTD director.

The centre would bear a lion’s share of the project cost of Rs 1.76 crore. A team of officials from the central ministry is slated to visit here on the boat launch. “Currently, the boat construction is in the final stages. The hull, the solar batteries and other parts are being shipped from Lyon in France. We aim to complete assembling works next month before conducting trial runs. The staff too will be given training on boat operation,” said Mr Sandith Thandasherry, CEO, Navgathi Marine and Constructions Pvt Ltd.

Earlier, the SWTD had placed the Rs 1.72-crore project order with NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats Pvt Ltd, an Indo-French joint venture, following a global tender. The boat with a passenger capacity of 75 persons is powered by two 20 KW motors using which it can cruise at 7.5 knots with full load. The total running hours of the boat is planned to be six hours (24 trips).

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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