Community college goes solar

Two undergraduate students of VIT University, Shashank Badkul and Nishant Bilakanti, who are in the final year of B.Tech. Electrical and Electronics Engineering have installed an off-grid photo-voltaic (PV) solar system in Pravaham, a community college in Venkatapuram village on the Palamathi Hills in Thimiri panchayat union, in association with the University of Strathclyde, UK.

Pravaham which was started as a voluntary organisation in 1993 was upgraded as a Community College in 2003 with the objective of enabling poor girls, especial school dropouts in the villages to pursue a one-year course in nursing and get employed in clinics and hospitals.

A 3-member team led by Scott Strachan, senior research fellow in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow was in Vellore to install the solar power system, comprising four PV solar panels at Pravaham.

“We first collected the load requirements at Pravaham and then sized the battery and the number of solar panels to be installed at the site, depending on the irradiation levels in the area”, said Shashank.

Used in new building

The solar units have electrified the new building housing two classrooms, which was constructed recently.

The units which were installed and commissioned last month are being used to energise two lights and two AC fans, and facilitate the charging of laptops and mobile phones.

Night classes are conducted in the classrooms thanks to the solar units, said Shashank.

The solar units were installed at a cost of about Rs. seven lakhs.

All the imported equipments were donated by the University of Strathclyde.

The Pravaham authorities are now operating the units on their own, and they have been asked to contact VIT whenever they need any help if there was any technical snag in the system, he said.

The project was coordinated by Parthasarathy Mallick, Dean, School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, VIT.

The new facility has been installed in association with the University of Strathclyde, UK

The solar units energise lights, fans and mobiles in a new building in the college