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Students turn junk into light at solar lamp design contest

According to reports, using junk material such as coconut shells, discarded telephone instruments, and wooden boxes students of engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu have shown how it is possible to make solar lamps for just around Rs 300.

As many as 65 teams from 20 institutions participated in an inter-collegiate solar lamp design contest organised jointly by The Solarillion Initiative, a branch of the prestigious IEEE and the online renewable energy newsletter, Panchabuta.

The competition was held after a work shop organised by the three entities to familiarise engineering students with solar energy.

A team from the Chennai-based B. S. Abdur Rahman University won the first prize in the contest; the second and third prizes went to Aalim Muhammed Salegh College of Engineering based in Vellore and Jeppiaar Engineering College. The prizes were given away by the eminent agricultural scientist and Magsaysay award winner, Dr M. S. Swaminathan, at a function held here today at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.

The solar lamps displayed at the event showed how the lamps could be made from even junk material as long as you have the three major elements of a solar lamp – solar panel, batteries and LED lights.

Speaking at the function, Dr Swaminathan called for an Integrated Energy Security Policy with emphasis on renewable energy and with particular focus on solar energy. He said it was important that the students community realised the importance of solar energy.

Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, Founder-Editor, Panchabuta, said that the organisers would take the workshop-competition events to other parts of Tamil Nadu in the coming months, in deference to the demand by various colleges and universities.

Ramesh Rajesh, Co-Founder of The Solarillion Initiative, said that the not-for-profit initiative focused on solar education, research, capacity building and social projects that aimed to reach out to millions of college students in five years.

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