Varanasi, January 6: Viewing to promote clean energy transport, an auto-driver of the city came up with a novel idea and introduced solar panels in his electric powered e-rickshaw to ensure clean and green environment.
Jai Prakash Saroj, a resident of Jalali Patti, installed solar panels and controller in his rickshaw. “When I heard that solar energy is being used at Jayapur village (adopted by PM Narendra Modi) for lighting, I then decided to install them in my rickshaw,” he said.
The major reason for conversion of electricity-operated rickshaw to solar-powered rickshaw was power-cuts. “Power-cuts are rampant in our area, so it was difficult to charge the batteries. Hence, introduction of solar panels had become a must,” he said. “Once fully charged, the solar-powered rickshaw can run for 40-50 kms,” he said, adding that it takes five hours to charge the battery with four panels.
Saroj said that four 40-ampere plates costing Rs 12,000 and a solar-charged controller worth Rs 4,000 have been installed. “The solar panel made up of small cells turns sunlight into electricity,” he said.
Non-conventional Energy Development Agency (NEDA) R B Singh said that currently the agency has no plan to introduce solar panel in vehicles.
Over 100 e-rickshaws ply in the city and have become popular because of low fuel cost and less human effort, compared to pulled rickshaws. They are being widely accepted as an alternative to petrol/diesel/CNG auto rickshaws. These are three wheels, pulled by an electric motor ranging from 650-1400 watts.