There are only a handful of such boats operating on solar power in the country. The 12-seater pontoon-shaped boat can cruise at a speed of 7 knots for an estimated range of over 35 miles.
"We chose to launch the boat in River Krishna on the occasion of Ugadi festival on a trial run. While the boat may not change water travel, it is an effective and attention-grabbing demonstration of the sun’s power. We wanted to include an eco-friendly boat in our fleet of water sports operating in Krishna since Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is keen on bringing into use green energy," said Subhakar Rao Surapaneni, CEO and Managing Director of Champions Yacht Club, a Goa-based yachting and boating service company which is launching the new facility.
The solar boat, facilitating clean and efficient cruise, has been imported from China.
Solar-powered boats get their energy from the sun. Using electric motors and storage batteries charged by solar panels fitted to the roof, these boats can significantly reduce or eliminate use of fossil fuels.
"Unlike conventional boats that operate using diesel engines which are fuel-guzzlers causing air and noise pollution and disturbance to the local habitat endangering the ecological balance of the surrounding areas, the solar boats are uniquely suited to transform light energy into movement," said Sri Ranga Sai, Champion Yacht Club’s Vijayawada unit manager (Operations).
The boat will be rented out on hourly basis for kitty parties and other parties by small groups, says Mr. Sai.
The firs solar boat designed in India was named Surya, a 25-seater, by Kerala-based TeamSustain in 2008. It operated in the backwaters of Kerala ferrying passengers and in 2010, it was included in the Limca Book of Records as Asia’s largest solar-powered passenger boat.