Stakeholders are all set to finalise the location for a 92-acre solar farm to source 17-MW of clean energy to propel the electric hybrid ferries of the ₹747-crore Water Metro project.
Official sources remained tight-lipped about the location of the farm that is aimed at making the project energy self-sufficient to attain net-zero emission status. The farm would be on the lines of the one set up by Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) that made it the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, they said.
The power generated from the Water Metro’s proposed solar farm will also cater to the energy requirements of 38 ferry terminals that will be spread over the 76-km route distance that the 78 air-conditioned ferries will operate in. Banking on conventional power from the grid will tremendously increase the operational expense of the ferries.
“The energy from the solar farm will be fed into the grid in return for as much energy to power the ferries, terminals, and allied infrastructure. Excess power, if any, will be sold to the KSEB. Our aim is to ensure that the Water Metro project is green end-to-end, rather than ‘greenwashing.’ This will in turn prompt tourists and others who value low-carbon footprint to use the ferries,” sources said.
The ferries that will come with lithium titanate oxide batteries are expected to prevent 45,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by 2035. They will rely on diesel generators as a stand-by measure and to attain speed.
Kochi metro officials are scouting for funds to help establish the solar farm, it is learnt.
The first batch of seven 100-seater ferries of the Water Metro project are yet to begin operations on the High Court-Vypeen and Vyttila-Kakkanad routes, with the government’s decision awaited on their commissioning, sources said.