Configured solar lamps for villages reeling under power crisis.

At a time when many States are facing a power crisis, a group of electrical engineering students have taken up an initiative to light up study centres in remote villages in Tamil Nadu with solar power. A batch of students of Lakshya, the E Cell initiative of SSN College of Engineering, went to a few remote villages in Tiruthani recently where they installed solar lamps at homes of a few children that also double up as study centres.

Taken up as part of the E-Week (Entrepreneurship Week) celebrations in colleges organised by the National Entrepreneurship Network across cities between February 11 and 18, the team had planned to cover a few other villages that reeled under constant power cuts.

“We have been planning to take this initiative for the last couple of weeks, where we raised sponsorship of Rs.30,000 to buy the lamps and panels that we configured to suit the needs of these villages,” explains Vidarth Jaikrishnan, third-year student of the college and the team leader.

To make it more cost-effective, the electrical engineering students bought a panel that could charge two lanterns. Each lamp can light up a 300 sq. ft. room. Their next task was contacting NGOs who could connect them to remote villages where infrastructure facilities were poor, especially places where the need for electricity was more felt. AIDIndia identified three villages that were in dire need of power.

According to Chitra K., project manager, AIDIndia, Tiruttani, students use the Rs.10 torch light battery in some of these homes to study as it is usually in the evening that there are regular power cuts. There are three such study centres in the village where children up to Class VIII gather to study.

Nine configured solar lamps are ready with the team of 17. “We also explain students how solar lamps work and about its advantages. If this is successful, we plan to procure more lamps and set out to a few identified villages in Lathur and Thiruporur,” says Vinay Kumar, another team member.

The team plans to scale up this social venture beyond the E-Week. “We plan to rope in our juniors so that they can take it forward. We are also confident of getting in more sponsorship so that we can buy more lamps,” adds Vidarth.