Green drive on blue waters — solar power lights up naval vessel

  • INS Sarvekshak is a naval survey vessel.
  • This warship of the Navy has turned to the sun to generate a share of its on-board power.
  • This ship has innovatively deployed the zero-maintenance solar power system, capable of generating 5.4KW electricity, by customising and installing ‘razor-thin, flexible’ solar panels on the canopy of its telescopic (retractable) helicopter deck.


  • Rigid, glass-topped solar panels are unsuitable in the humid, salty marine environment, as they cannot withstand high wind speeds.
  • They were found to be unfit for fitment on ships and they needed to be stationary for the sensors to receive sunlight.
  • Conventional, fume-emitting batteries posed a further challenge, as they are not advisable over turbulent seas

Innovative Deployment

  • Given these constraints, the team then decided on the ‘light weight, extra-thin and flexible panels that would not break’.
  • These panels have been imported from the U.S. through a local vendor.
  • These panels have a maintenance free life for 24 years while the no-fume solid electrolyte batteries have a guaranteed life of 20 years.
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