The Indian government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission(JNNSM) has recognized that there are a number of off-grid solar applications particularly for meeting rural energy needs, which are already cost-effective and provides for their rapid expansion. The Mission also has a goal of deploying 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas by 2022.
The lamp, priced at $20, also can sit on the floor, hang from a peg on a wall, and be carried like a flashlight or worn around the neck. It can withstand drops to the floor and is easily taken apart to be fixed if something goes wrong. Designed to be recharged at a solar generating station, it is strong enough to read by or to light up a room. It holds a charge for eight hours.
Dubbed “Enlight” by its creators—a seven-person team of students from MIT and Rhode Island School of Design—the lamp could eventually be used by millions of people in remote parts of India. The student team will present its prototype to one of India’s largest non-governmental organizations, the Energy and Resource Institute, which will consider using Enlight or the concepts behind it in plans to light some 40,000 villages.
..And with the help of a new project led by UNICEF and the IKEA Social Initiative – the corporate philanthropy arm of the international home-furnishings retailer – Mantasha now spends her evenings studying and laughing by lamplight.
..To further encourage girls to excel, UNICEF is partnering with the IKEA Social Initiative to provide solar-powered SUNNAN lamps to students. For every lamp sold in IKEA stores worldwide, another will be given to UNICEF and delivered to rural schools, where children often have limited access to electricity.
..A total of 66,740 SUNNAN lamps are being distributed to more than 6,400 schools and women’s literacy groups in Uttar Pradesh state. Another 24,720 lamps are also being distributed in the Indian states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
The JNNSM also plans to provide solar lighting systems under the ongoing remote village electrification programme of MNRE to cover about 10,000 villages and hamlets.
The use of solar lights for lighting purposes would be promoted in settlements without access to grid electricity and since most of these settlements are remote tribal settlements, 90% subsidy is provided. For other villages which are connected to grid, solar lights would be promoted through market mode by enabling banks to offer low cost credit.
With a number of such initiatives being launched it seems like the JNNSM will be able to meet their off grid targets in solar lighting systems and make a huge social and economic impact in rural India.