IIT-Bombay (IIT B) have initiated ‘Solar Urja Lamp’ (SoUL) that aims to provide solar lamps (Solar Study Lamps) to the rural students through skill transfer to local communities. Through this project, the institute is lighting up homes with renewable energy and providing rural women with the chance to become entrepreneurs.
According to IIT-B professor Chetan Singh Solanki (who is part of the project), there are two types of solar lamps – module one and module two. Module one consists of a lamp that provides LED light and a solar panel that is placed outside under the sun. Module two solar lamp also consists of a mobile charging pin. The battery life of these lamps is 10 to 12 hours when on low mode and 5 to 6 hours when on high mode. Under this intervention, one million children in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan have been given the solar lamps. Last year, the ministry of new and renewable energy sanctioned the project after which around 70 lakh solar study lamps will be provided in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
Solanki who is from the department of Energy Science and Engineering of IIT B and initiated the project in the year 2013 said it was done keeping in mind the eradication of kerosene lamps in villages especially among school children.
“We fail to realise but kerosene lamps emit carbon dioxide fumes which are inhaled by the children causing damage to their body. Also, as these lamps are inflammable there are high chances of mishaps like fire causing burn injuries or even death. Hence, the idea of using renewable energy (solar) is safe and this will build a solar eco system,” said Harshad Supal, member of the technical team of SoUL project. Through this project, they want to promote education among the students but in an environmental friendly manner.
Faculty and students of IIT-B, along with the supply of these lamps will be training the women of villages to let them understand the solar technology. Apart from the lamps, IIT-B aims to introduce other solar products like home lighting, water pumps, solar cooking to build a solar eco system.