‘Solar hamam’ taking care of heating in cold Himalayan regions

The system is also helping conserve the forests as it is reducing the dependence on fuelwood

December 14, 2021 01:07 am | Updated 01:07 am IST - CHANDIGARH

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Aimed at providing clean energy solutions to households in the cold mountainous regions for heating purposes and also to achieve forest conservation, a solar water-heating system, ‘solar hamam’, is proving popular among the villagers in Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand.

In the higher Himalayan region, 50% of fuelwood is consumed for the purpose of heating and is one of the major reasons for forests degradation and also the main cause of drudgery of women.

Scientists at the Himalayan Research Group, an NGO, which is a part of the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology Core Support Programme of Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED) Division realised that technology interventions to conserve forests was required, and hence they devised a customized solar water and space heating system for the region.

“It was in 2004 that with an aim to reduce dependence on fuelwood and women drudgery that we started research and development for designing a simple and cost-effective solar water and space heating system for rural households. In 2008, we developed a prototype of thesolar water-heating system, and it was put for evaluation. It was found to be cost-effective, providing 15 to18 litres of hot water within the first solar illumination of 30–35 minutes in the morning. Successive batches of hot water are available in 15–20 minutes gap. After its encouraging results we started installing the system from 2014 onwards. We have so far installed over 1,200 such systems in Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand,” said Dr. Lal Singh, Director at the Himlayan Research Group.

Harish Chander (49), a resident of village Oli in Mandi district installed the solar system in 2018 and is very happy with its results. “After I installed it (solar hamam) in my house I urged other people to use it. It is wonderful,” he said.

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