New Delhi: Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan recently launched a low cost and environment-friendly solar lighting device that would prove to be a boon for the urban and rural households in the country that do not have reliable access to electricity. The device has been developed under the aegis of the Department of Science & Technology.
Describing the salient features of the device, the minister said that the potential users of this device were 10 million households. He further said that, according to preliminary estimates, if this technology is adopted in just 10 million households, it has the potential of saving 1,750 million units of energy. It would also lead to an emission reduction of an equivalent of 12.5 million ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), giving a fillip to the mission of ‘Clean India, Green India’. The manufacturing process being labour-intensive, it would also generate many jobs.
The science minister, while explaining the working of the device, said that the micro-solar dome captured sunlight through a transparent, semi-spherical upper dome and concentrated it inside a dark room.
The light passes through a sun-tube that has a thin layer of highly reflective coating on the inner wall of the passage. It also contains a lower dome that has a shutter at the bottom that can be closed when light is not required (for example, in the daytime). It is leak-proof; it works for almost 16 hours a day (throughout the day and 4 hours after sunset).
The minister said that the photovoltaic integrated micro-solar dome cost about Rs 1,200 and the non-photovoltaic version around Rs 500. These figures are expected to get further reduced to Rs 900 and Rs 400 respectively after the manufacturing process is scaled up and the products receive subsidies under various schemes of the Ministries of Urban Development, Rural Development and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences YS Choudhary said that this technology would lead to the saving of fossil fuels to a great extent as a unit of energy saved is equivalent to 3 units of energy generated. He foresees the corporate sector playing a role under their corporate social responsibility schemes. He said that incubation centres were being brought up under the ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’ programme, which would encourage entrepreneurship in the solar sector to make commercialization of the device viable.
According to a TERI University test report, the illumination level of the light during mid-day goes as high as a 15 W LED bulb. Extensive testing of the device for select parameters has been completed at IIT-Bombay, TERI University and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Kolkata. Field trials have been conducted and 300 micro solar domes are being installed in the slums of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.