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Bangalore: Harvesting sunshine for daily use

According to reports, when everything from clothes and accessories to groceries and medicines have gone online, then why not solar-powered chargers, sun jars, solar clocks, solar panels and solar educational kits for children?

In the startup city, where entrepreneurs stand neck-to-neck with engineers, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur has started an e-commerce firm that trades wholly in solar and recycled products, while simultaneously encouraging people to increase their usage of solar energy.

Ifthikhar Javed, founder of HAL-based, says the idea is not just to have people buy online, but to get them to understand the value of renewable sources of energy.

“We have sunlight aplenty. So it makes sense to slowly start using solar products,” says the electronics engineer, who quit his IT job to learn about renewable energy, and started myEcoDay last year.

Since there are minimum 300 days of guaranteed sunlight here, solar energy can be tapped and used extensively, he says.

“There is a lot of opportunity. We sell both end products and also solar components like solar chargers, panel and inverters that buyers can piece together and use,” says Javed.

Running like any other e-commerce firm, myEcoDay takes orders and makes shipments.

“When we started, we initially sold products made from recycled paper and from elephant poo like notepads, notebooks, gift packs and travel journals. Now, along with the elephant poo products, we have branched out into solar and dynamo products,” says Javed.

Shipping not just to consumers in Bangalore, but also as far as New Delhi, Agra, Orissa and small towns, the firm sees an average 50 products getting sold in a month.

“Some products are available for Rs2,500-3,000, but even consumers in tier-II towns show interest in buying them. I think the importance of consuming recycled and solar products is growing gradually,” feels Javed.

He is currently working on bringing solar-powered products for the kitchen. ”Several kitchen appliances, including the grinder, oven, etc, consume tremendous amount of electricity. Solar products for the kitchen will help reduce electricity consumption to a large extent. We are working on building a prototype,” says Javed.

In India, every unit of electricity consumed leads to abut 950 grams of carbon dioxide emissions. That is a whopping 3.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per urban household per year.

Since the state government introduced a solar policy for the period 2011-16, Karnataka has witnessed a surge in momentum gained by its solar power sector.

Based on a PwC report on renewable energy, Karnataka is the only state to have supported solar projects under the REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) mechanism.

About 950 MW of project proposals have been submitted to Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL), and they are currently under different stages of implementation.

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