Solar lighting is a boon to many, especially those in remote areas. Take for example, Sollepura, a rehabilitation center established for tribal people, near Mysore.
The colony may soon be a model for other such settlements. Under the Integrated Rural Energy Program of the Department of Rural Development and the Panchayati Raj, the Mysore Zilla Panchayat has been able to provide electricity through solar power to the new homes of these poor tribal people.
Accordingly, the zilla panchayat had sent a proposal to the Department of Forests following a suggestion from the Mysore MP C.H. Vijayashankar. He had recently reviewed the progress of tribal welfare programmes in Heggadadevankote and Hunsur taluks and wanted to replicate the solar-based power projects implemented on a pilot basis in Mysore and Chamarajnagar districts, at Sollepura as well.
The Forests Department is now examining the proposal, which aims at providing solar-based power for street lighting, home lighting and cooking at Sollepura.
"Many risk factors are involved in laying transmission lines bisecting the jungles for supplying power to these centers. If the power lines get snapped, it could be hazardous for wild animals," says a spokesman.
Though some tribal settlements on the forest fringes have the facility of solar power for home lighting, the model developed by the zilla panchayat is different as it involves the community (tribal people in the case of Sollepura) so that problems connected to the maintenance of the system do not disturb the objective of the projects promoting non-conventional energy resources.
Officials opine the dependency on firewood for cooking and other purposes will be reduced if solar stoves are provided to the families under the project. This will help reduce pressure on forest wealth, they add.
"If anything goes wrong with the system, then the usage will be stopped and the purpose of providing the facility will go waste. Keeping that in mind, we have developed the solar-based energy model for remote villages wherein the maintenance has to be taken care of by the beneficiaries," the zilla panchayat was quoted.
The rehabilitation package for the tribal people in Sollepura and Veerannahosahalli was drafted according to the Union Government scheme; each family was promised Rs. 1 lakh in cash and five acres of land.
Thanks to the government's efforts on solar lighting, many tribals are now out of the darkness, literally.
The Solar Home Lighting Project, which was launched on an experimental basis by the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department, is an effort to encourage gram panchayats to use non-conventional energy resources and become self-reliant.
Solar lighting encompasses using energy derived from the sun for various purposes. The advantages are:
· Low energy costs
· Little maintenance- Solar power products have few moveable parts, hence fewer parts to break
· No emissions. The greatest benefits of solar lighting are, perhaps, the environmental benefits. Solar lighting does not contribute to global warming in any way.
· Renewable resource. Solar power is a renewable resource. Other energy resources like coal and oil, etc., have finite supplies. The power of the sun, on the other hand, will keep on shining until humans no longer exist.
· Solar lights continue to work, even if there has been a power cut.
You can use solar lighting to light homes or cabins and in places where there is no other electricity. Solar energy can be used to run everything from ceiling fans to TVs to washing machines and more.
· Another of the many benefits of solar lighting is that many outdoor solar lights have darkness sensors, so you never even have to worry about turning them on or off. They take care of themselves.
· It is easy to install.
The primary disadvantage to solar energy is the upfront cost of installation. Yet this evens out after a while.