Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on 12 January 2017 launched the first solar-powered boat 'Aaditya' at Vaikom. The boat will do service between Vaikom and Thavanakkadavu.
Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal was also present at the launch event. Goyal launched the service in Vaikom-Cherthala-Thavanakadavu waterways.
Kerala Government sought financial assistance from the Union Government to roll out this solar power boat. The government will soon launch ten more solar power boats with an aim to replace the existing fleet of diesel boats with solar-powered ones.
Highlights of the boat
• The boat has two electric motors and a lithium battery.
• It is 20 metre long and seven metre wide and can travel at a speed of 14 km per hour.
• Generally, the ordinary boats take 15 minutes time to reach Thavanakkadavu from Vaikom, however, the solar boat will take only half of that time.
• The boat has a seating capacity of 75 people.
• The construction of this Rs 1.50 crore worth solar boat took nearly two years.
• The boat was manufactured on the basis of studies conducted at the ship technology department of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat).
Kerala has a 590 km long coastal water way and around 1548 km of inland waterways. And in order to cover all this region for transportation, Kerala needs solar boats which are less expensive and do not cause pollution.