Aaditya: India’s First Solar-Powered Boat

Earlier this year, Electric Boats and NavAlt Solar launched their very first solar ferry – Aaditya in the state of Kerala. This solar ferry is eyeing INR 28 crores revenue this fiscal year. This would be 14-times rise over 2016 – 2017, said a top company official.

The Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan launched the 75-seater solar boat. The chief guest was Mr. Piyush Goyal, the Minister of New & Renewable Energy.

NavAlt was established in the year 2013. It was a joint venture between the parent firm Navgathi Marine Design & Construction along with 2 French firms – EVE Systems and Alt.En Systems.The Union minister said, “I’ll consider the state’s request for 10 more solar ferries which is in line with our policy to encourage renewable sources of energy. Besides ensuring clean water bodies, the solar ferries will help in fuel efficiency and less cost of operation.

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“In FY17, we clocked revenues of only Rs 2 crore. We already have orders for 10 boats in hand and generally the cost to client is around Rs 2-3 crore. So, we are expecting nearly Rs 28 crore revenue this fiscal,” said Electric Boats and NavAlt Solar’s Chief Executive, Mr. Sandith Thandasherry.

Sandith said Navgathi, which is mainly into the building of ferries and commercial boats, decided to try their hand in constructing solar-powered boat. Therefore, they collaborated with 2 French companies to build solar-powered ferries

The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) on a daily basis will schedule 22 rounds for the solar-powered ferry between morning 7 am and evening 7 pm. During the peak hours, the ferry, which has about 78 rooftop solar panels, is expected to conduct services at a time interval of 10 minutes and within 15 minutes of interval at other times. The solar boat can run at a max speed of 7.5-knots. It cruises quite smoothly without any noise and minimal vibration when compared with the normal diesel ferries we see.

Sandith said the first solar ferry was launched in Kerala and now it is looking at opportunities in other states like West Bengal, Gujarat and Goa among others.

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The company is looking forward to introduce their solar-powered ferry model in other Asian countries where there is abundant availability of sunshine, he said.

Sandith said, “Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other South East Asian nations are our target markets. Among these, Nepal is the main target as they use the waterways for transportation very effectively.”