A solar module manufacturing plant fully owned and operated by local tribal communities is being set up in Dungarpur, Rajasthan with the help of IIT Bombay. The Institute has helped implement this first-of- its-kind solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing plant, which will be completely owned and operated by tribal women in Dungarpur, Rajasthan, according to a release. The institute’s director Devang Khakhar said, “IIT Bombay is taking significant steps to contribute positively in energy scenario of the country not only through academics but also by undertaking scientific and social projects”.
“This first-of- its-kind manufacturing plant will be a game changer in off-grid solar power scenario of India. This project will boost the confidence of people in solar PV technology by not only creating jobs for local people but also enabling long-term sustenance of solar products,” said Chetan Singh Solanki, principal investigator of the Million SoUL Project at IIT Bombay. IIT Bombay has also started a Department of Energy Science and Engineering and established a National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education. In the space of renewable energy technology, IIT Bombay has lead projects which provide solar lamps to school students across India.
The Institute has already distributed 1 million solar lamps and has been given the responsibility to plan and execute distribution of 7 million more such lamps. IIT Bombay believes that the sustainability of solar solutions can come only when local communities are involved in various operations of solar technology implementation and distribution. To take this forward, IIT Bombay has begun promoting local manufacturing of solar products in rural areas. IIT Bombay will provide hand-holding support to the community till they become fully capable of technical and business operations. A corpus amount exceeding Rs 24 lakhs was collected for set-up of the manufacturing plant by the tribal women, according to the release. Additional funds were provided by Idea Cellular. The plant is expected to be operational within 4 to 5 months and will focus mainly on off-grid solar market.