Solar Photo Voltaics

Decentralized energy systems are probably the only option available for energizing remote villages. This becomes very relevant in the context of hilly terrain where solar photo voltaics allow the production of electricity on the rooftops and its consumption in houses scattered over the landscape.

Installed solar panel in a rural villageWe have been working with the development and dissemination of solar technology in the remote villages of Kumaon. We have managed to reach 1470 families in almost 210 hamlets and villages, out of which 25 villages have been electrified intensively (60 to 100 percent) through trained rural solar technicians.

The main aim of our work has been to demonstrate that solar is one of the reliable and continuous sources of energy to meet the basic requirement for home lighting and cottage industry in hilly villages. The three important links are technical, financial and social back-up systems and the main features of our work are:

Technicians working on solar lanterns1. Technical training of rural youth to assemble, repair and maintain the solar units. We have trained local girls and boys to take care of the systems installed in the villages. This has created a reliable maintenance network that encourages people to repose their trust in this technology and invest in it. This technicians are emerging as a group that can fall back on collective learning and solve problems at village level, making solar a viable option. The villages are paying for the salary of these technicians, and the shortfalls are met through sales of solar lanterns and home lighting systems assembled and sold by them.

2. Establishment of a rural electronic workshop. This serves as the training center of the technicians. They learn all about electronic circuits for solar systems here. The workshop stocks all components and necessary repair materials. There is the main workshop at our Tripuradevi campus and four workshops in the project villages, which provide the necessary support to the villages. These rural workshops get the necessary back up from the central workshop at Tripuradevi.

3. Collection of village-level maintenance fund. This fund has been collected by the users at village level to provide for any future replacement of the equipment. Already, people have collected around 30 lakh Rupees which is managed by different Samitis at the village level.

4. Formation of village level solar committees. These committees play a pivotal role in the management of this technology at village level. Their role is slowly increasing to take up more developmental activities at the village level.