NEW DELHI, INDIA: In continuation of its efforts and commitment towards providing clean lighting solutions in rural regions of the country and beyond, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) under its flagship project “Lighting a Billion Lives” (LaBL), unveiled new models of solar lanterns jointly designed and developed by TERI along with its technology partners. These new solar lanterns will provide cutting edge, affordable lighting solutions, ensuring high quality illumination.Present on the occasion to unveil the lanterns were Jitin Prasada, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, along with Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Dr RK Pachauri, Director General TERI , Ms Akanksha Chaurey, Director Decentralized Energy Solutions as well as LaBL’s solar technology partners from India and overseas.
In his address Jitin Prasada, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas said: “It is a matter of personal gratification for me to be associated with unveiling of these new generation cost effective solar lanterns under TERI’s “Lighting a Billion Lives” initiative. Since I myself represent a rural constituency I can appreciate the importance of such projects to the vast majority of our rural brothers and sisters. This fact reflects that this vast majority is not only unable to join the mainstream of development, but also suffers on account of adverse implications on human health.
"We cannot expect our fellow citizens to wait for the last mile of electrification grid. It is, therefore, important that we seek solutions like LaBL, which definitely has the potential of fulfilling the gap between effective supply demand in rural lighting. This initiative provides as excellent opportunity for the public and private sector to synergize their efforts and maximize the benefits.”
Lauding TERI and its technology partner’s initiative in developing these state-of-the art solar lanterns, Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said: “Organizations such as TERI, along with its partners compliment and supplement MNRE’s efforts in achieving the targets of the National Solar Mission. This is a shining example of how innovation can work wonders to bring state-of-the-art technology to homes without electricity. Your interest and commitment will certainly facilitate a paradigm shift needed for commoditization of solar off-grid applications.”
Elaborating on LaBL and the requirement for such partnerships, Dr. R.K. Pachauri Director General TERI said: “Lighting of homes without access to grid electricity is a challenge addressed in a unique way by the Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) campaign. We have taken a significant step towards using modern photovoltaic technology for the benefit of the 1.6 billion people globally who lack electricity. TERI has worked with several partner organizations in bringing about major improvements in the design of solar lanterns to make these affordable and reliable so that we can light up the homes of those deprived of regular electricity supply.”
Ms Akanksha Chaurey, Director Decentralized Energy Solutions and Head of TERI’s Lighting a Billion Lives program added: “This initiative has tremendous business opportunity not only for India but also in other parts of the Subcontinent, as well as Latin America and Africa. The capability that India develops in this area would also have huge export potential.
"I am glad to see the overwhelming response of the industry who have come forward and accepted the challenge of rural energy access of which lighting is a critical component. Rural lighting markets offer immense opportunities for start-ups including established industries in solar, lighting, storage and allied fields. LaBL not only has business potential but is a great medium to bring about social change.”
Solar lanterns for rural households
Solar lanterns have proved to be a clean, reliable and versatile source of lighting that benefit thousands of rural households who despite the aggressive grid expansion plans are still living in the dark. TERI’s Lighting a Billion Lives team has been working hard along with its existing and new technology partners to further the mission’s objectives in bringing down the cost of lanterns while simultaneously enhancing technical performance.
This launch has unveiled five categories of LED based lanterns that are tested in-house and are ready to be used in rural lighting initiatives not only in India, but in other developing countries as well. Technology partners Nichia, Japan; Texas Instruments, USA; Amara Raja and Regnant Lighting, have been instrumental in this breakthrough. They have worked closely manufacturers Sujana Energy, Kripa Lights, Avni Energy, BNK Energy Alternatives, Agni Power and are living proof of the wonders of public-private-people-partnerships.
The new lanterns have enhanced features such as super bright white LED light, low power consumption, 6V/4.5Ah SMF Lead acid battery, three modes of brightness – high, medium and dim, Light output at one foot – horizontal-min.60 lux, Vertical –min.128 lux (in regular LED lantern) and horizontal-min.120 lux, Vertical –min.250 lux (in ultra bright LED lantern), upto 7 hours of run time with 50,000 hours of LED life, and a solar charger capacity of 5Wp and 3Wp.
Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL)
The initiative Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) was launched in February 2008 with the aim to illuminate rural households which have no access to electricity. Since its launch, LaBL has illuminated around 30,000 households spread over 550 villages across 15 Indian states.
Solar lanterns are recharged at a village solar charging station and rented out to the villagers at a daily nominal cost. These charging stations, while ensuring quality services at affordable rate, also provide green jobs to local people who manage these stations; besides helping reduce consumption of subsidized kerosene substantially.
Last year LaBL established a forum of like minded technology providers called LaBL-PaT, to develop efficient, low cost and reliable solar lanterns using state-of-the-art technical and scientific knowledge. New designs of solar lanterns were introduced that are currently being used in the LaBL initiative.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems provide a unified solution, bringing power to those that need it, while making a moderate but important contribution to climate protection. This has been possible due to market-oriented activities that increasingly demonstrate the technology’s technical and commercial viability. The sole mission of this partnership is to catalyse innovative and cost effective lighting solutions for rural market in a sustainable manner.
The objectives of the forum is to:
* Facilitate innovation and development of affordable modern lighting solutions customized to the needs of rural communities,
* Strive to stimulate niche markets for lighting in a sustainable manner, and
* Create a platform to promote collaborative research and development toward a brighter future.
LaBL-PaT will help disseminate solar technologies among urban poor and rural households where access to electricity is absent or minimal. Presently LaBL-PaT comprises of 30 companies pioneering in the filed of making solar technologies. These partners in technology are the partners in transformation -- through combined and continuous efforts in:
* Design improvements,
* Introduction of new concepts,
* Technologies and techniques, and
* Innumerable other innovations.
India is home to one of the most abundant solar resources in the world, with 2.97 million square kilometers of tropical and subtropical land. With an average of 250-300 clear sunny days a year, solar power could easily meet a large share of the country's energy needs through both centralized and decentralized production.
The potential, if realized, would dwarf current solar leaders like Germany, Spain, Japan, and the US in both domestic market size and export manufacturing. It would also create a large job market in solar manufacturing and installation.
Technology partners and sponsors
Nichia Chemical (I) Pvt Ltd, Japan
In the process of the challenging pursuit of brighter luminescent and light emitting materials, we succeeded in developing and commercializing the super high brightness Blue LED in 1993 and White LED in 1996. Nichia will continue to be a company which will be able to make a contribution to the world by evolving its original and unique technologies into the actual manufacturing. In India, we are operating from 2004 and have a very major market share across all the segments .NICHIA is pleased to announce the Tie Up with TERI and is committed to supply High Efficacy LED (150lm/Watt) towards LaBL program.
Texas Instruments (India) Pvt Ltd
"Texas Instruments has a clear focus on providing innovative, life-changing and environmentally-compatible semiconductor technologies. We are privileged to contribute to TERI's mammoth effort towards enhancing the quality of life of millions of our people through the LaBL initiative. We are working closely with TERI to help them bring out affordable, highly efficient and technologically advanced products for the rural lighting initiative,"
Sujana Energy Ltd
Expressing his satisfaction on this prestigious partnership with TERI, C. Hari Kiran, managing director, Sujana Energy Ltd (SE) said: “We are pleased with our partnership with TERI for the LaBL initiative. Sujana Energy is part of the Hyderabad based $1.3 billion Sujana Group of companies, which is focused on delivering applicable, available and affordable solar LED solutions to markets worldwide and especially to rural India. We are confident to make a difference by bringing in scale to this initiative. We are also excited to work with TERI on various other initiatives panning solar solutions for telecom towers, decentralized power generation and CSR. Together, we are looking forward to extend this partnership to other geographies like Africa in the near future.”
Amara Raja Electronics Ltd
"True to Amara Raja's core purpose of providing access and opportunities to more people and the group’s commitment to business that create high social impact, Amara Raja has joined hands with TERI as a technical and innovation partner. Amara Raja's experience in the area of energy and empowerment will be leveraged for "Lighting a Billion Lives".
Neel Maitra, managing director, said: "At Ricoh, we are constantly working on developing innovative ideas, technologies and practices to help organizations to reduce their carbon footprint. We look forward to brighter homes and greener offices. In line with the Ricoh Group’s visionary 2050 Environmental Impact Reduction Goals, we have joined hands with TERI to support its ambitious 'Light a Billion Lives' campaign. As an active partner, we not only adopt villages and contribute solar lanterns; we also show corporate India a path to creating eco-friendly workspaces, with office equipment that saves paper and energy.”
Rana Kapoor, founder, managing director and CEO, said: “It is our privilege to partner TERI on this important initiative which is illustrative of the entrepreneurial spirit of an Emerging India that is impacting social and environmental issues towards the sustainable development of our nation. I truly believe that the “Light a Billion Lives” campaign is an illuminating foray focused on providing access to clean and bright lights in a decentralized manner, thereby enabling school children to study at night, and livelihoods to thrive unabated when the sun sets. YES BANK and TERI are jointly developing and piloting near commercial models for the LaBL campaign thus setting the stage for Financial Institutions to provide financial solutions to scale the campaign and achieve the target of impacting the lives of a billion people.”