A do-it-yourself scheme to assemble solar study lamps is giving rural women a livelihood
Solar energy has been the subject of many innovations, besides a variety of interesting applications in the last few years. So, when the solar study lamp came along, no one batted an eyelid. Here was one more good use the sun was being put to.
But no one expected a ‘do-it-yourself’ version that could be assembled in the village itself, making its manufacture and distribution a livelihood for thousands of rural women.
The innovative contraption that can be put together easily is designed by IIT Bombay and now part of the 70-lakh solar study lamp scheme funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. On the ground, it is implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) along with State Rural Livelihood Missions.
IIT Bombay has brought out two models of the lamp, both have an option of mobile charging alongside its lighting capability. The Model-1 PV module is 2.5 Wp with a 2100mAH lithium battery and a IW LED light. Model -2 is larger with a 5W PV module and a 4200mAH battery.
To manufacture the solar study lamp, assembling and distribution centres are being set up in the hinterland where women Self-Help Groups will be trained in the manufacture and distribution of these lamps. The initiative is already under way in Uttar Pradesh, where the wage for assembling each solar lamp is ₹12, while for distribution it is ₹17.
“This is an off-grid initiative for the States of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha, the scheme is aimed at blocks where less than 50 per cent households are electrified and a majority of families depend on kerosene as their main source of lighting,” explains SP Garnaik, Chief General Manager (Technical), Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.
The idea is to provide, at one go, work for women, reduce the use of kerosene and provide good light for children to study — and all this emanating from a renewable source.