In an attempt to make the Navy go green, a survey ship of Sandhayak-class, INS Sarvekshak has been installed with solar panels atop its hangar.
INS Sarvekshak, built by GRSE and Goa Shipyard Ltd. for Indian Navy, has become a trademark for the Navy as it has been fitted with eighteen sheets of solar panels on it. The 300-watt panels generate around 5.4 kW of power which is sufficient for internal lighting of the vessel for 24 hours a day.
Sarvekshak is perhaps the first naval ship in the world which has installed the solar panels.
The installation cost was around Rs. 19 lakh and the generation cost is Rs. 12 per kv per hour. The estimated savings for a lifespan of about 15 years is around Rs. 1 crore. The current diesel generator consumes a litre of diesel to produce five units of electricity.
Captain Rajesh Bargoti, the commanding officer of the ship, commented:
It took about six months to put the entire system in place. We are now using solar energy for lights and a couple of air conditioners.
Explaining more about the specifications they wanted in the solar panels, Captain Bargoti said:
One of the challenges faced by the project was that marine environments were not suitable for normal solar panels, as saline and humid surroundings would damage it. Also, the wind speed can affect the panels, which may get uprooted while at sea. So, we had to look at flexible panels that had anti-rust properties, were marine compatible, could withstand high wind speeds, perform on flat installations and had very low weight.
The flexible solar panels are rust free and flexible yet sturdy enough to withstand the strong winds at the sea.
Commander Sreejit Thampi, the electrical engineer on board further added that there are ten batteries being used for storage. The solar energy is used for lighting purposes only during sailing and while anchored at the harbour, the ship is provided with electricity by the state electricity board.
The officers are also noting down the meter reading of the electricity consumption to carry out power audit and to look at using solar devices for more devices.