Sunday, August 21, 2005

BHEL's Solar Lamps for Jharkhand Schools

BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd) in a joint initiative with the Jharkhand State Tribal Development Corporation, has installed solar lighting systems in tribal schools in various parts of the state. The solar power plants commissioned were in the 2-5 KW range, and each is equipped with solar photovoltaic panels, battery banks and power conditioning units for generating electricity using sunlight.

Jharkhand has one of the biggest backward tribal populations in the country, and the initiative is expected to help students who, "were earlier forced to call it a day at dusk itself". I am rather skeptical regarding schools conducting classes beyond dusk - only evening colleges do that. But classrooms must have enough lighting inside the class even in the day time and so this is good. More than that however, this initiative is likely to help showcase solar power in the tribal areas, and possibly generate interest. The experience should help further the role of solar power in achieving the targets of the Remote Village Electrification Programme.