Monday, September 23, 2013

Solar Energy Project continues in the Summer of 2013 as a part of Global Call to Youth

Hey everyone!

As I noted in the previous post, our Solar Energy Project continued in the summer of 2013 in  rural south India. We are very excited to share our continuing successes.

If you recall, last time, when we launched the Solar Energy Project, we chose solar kits (pictured below) that had been made in India. Each contained two 2.5W LED luminaries, a 12V battery (with the charger in a built-in box), and a 5W solar panel with a cable. A kit was very easy to assemble at the time (all you needed was a screwdriver and your hands), and provided up to 4 hours of lighting with a full charge. The light itself was fairly bright and on a rather long cord.

We showed the children how to install the kits and the basics of how the system worked. The significance of solar energy was integrated in their science curriculum but only in theory. Our goal has been to demonstrate the actual mechanism using these simple kits (after all, demonstrations are a great way to cement concepts, especially with children who love being able to physically interact with the kits rather than just listen to theory). The rural children were surprised and delighted to actually light up their class rooms using energy from the sun rather than depending on very inconsistent local power. Keep in mind that in many rural areas throughout India, power outages for up to 18 hours are not uncommon.

This summer, we opted to buy solar kits from USA. Though we prefer locally-made kits, due to financial constraints we could not afford to do that. The brand we got and distributed this summer is substantially cheaper than the one from January 2013. The picture below details the specifications of the lighting system this time around.

This summer, our first stop to launch the Solar Energy Project was at the Katte Malavadi Koppalu (KMK) elementary school. Usually, we intend to make our visits during the beginning of the school day so as to avoid disrupting the class significantly.

KMK elementary school is an enthusiastic participant of  tree planting/fruit garden project sponsored through the Global Call to Youth. Thus, we have been involved with the school from the past four years. When we first arrived at the school this summer, the children immediately recognized us and swarmed out of the building. These kids are pretty young and fairly small, but we don't think we've ever seen kids as excitable as those. In about 3 seconds 30 of them had swarmed us and were hugging us, shaking our hands, and generally being crazy kids.

Shortly afterwards, they brought us chairs and showed how the plants we had planted together as a team as a part of GCY two years ago had been flourishing (indeed, the children universally took great care of those plants-more on that in a later blog post).

We also got to taste some fresh Papaya fruit grown in the schoolyard planted by us 2 years ago. After about 10 minutes, the staff showed up, upon which we demonstrated how the solar kit worked. The children were surprisingly quick to pick it up, despite their relative lack of knowledge on solar power.

Needless to say, the kids were extremely eager to place the lights and panels where they thought it would be best suited which bodes well for the success of our solar energy project in KMK. The school only has 2 classrooms (which are partially illuminated by sunlight), so it should still be sufficient for lighting purposes.  As we repeatedly emphasize, we are counting on the demonstration effect of the solar kit to inspire and interest this current group and future groups of rural children at KMK.

As noted earlier, the kids were enthralled by the nature and workings of the solar energy. We strongly feel that this is a great start to teaching them the power of small-scale renewable energy. Certainly, we intend to continue our Solar Energy Project in other rural schools to provide more rural children with additional resources to help foster their curiosity and environmental education.

Next time, we'll talk about our health camp and the results we obtained!

Adarsha & Apoorva


  1. Thanks for putting your best efforts and giving such informative post.. Keep sharing this good work.
    Solar Shop

  2. Great post guys! Can't see the details on the photo about the solar kit from US?? Can you please add the description like the previous post? The photo is a bit blurry. And the price difference? Between the US and India brand? How expensive are we talking about? I am managing an internationally renowned solar power products company and will try to get you guys acompetitive rates.
    Congratulations on the job well done!

  3. I saw your blog post first thing in the morning while drinking coffee at my office! Great job guys! I waited until I came home to give my feed back. You guys never give up!! Your hard work and perseverance is what the younger generation need today to make the world a better place. Your parents should be very proud of you both.
    I myself am interested in knowing the prices for the solar kits. Taking them from here will be an issue when this becomes a long term commitment. Do you have a number in mind? I mean how many schools are you planning on involving? Keep up the great work.
    Apurva: why the name Brownest Falcon? Follow Supreme Overlord and get a catchy name!

  4. Hello Guys,
    As usual great continued work. I wish to echo the same sentiments as Mr. Subbanna. Duke, I just checked and if you click on the solar light pix, it has the option of enlarging. At least on my computer setting. Try it.
    I just see that it is from Chicago Electric and it is a 4 Watts Solar Shed light. The fluorescent light's output is similar to 30w incandescent light.You two ROCK!

  5. Thanks for all your feedback. The cost of the Chicago Electric solar shed light was close to $30. The one that we bought in India was almost double the price. We paid around $70 ( equivalent in Indian rupees in October of 2012). The Chicago Electric products are pretty compact and weighs 2.07lbs.
    I think Mr. Subbanna is right. We plan on involving all the GCY participant rural schools. We also will launch it in our Haiti project site. It will be like 100 kits minimum.
    We plan on asking the airlines help in the transportation. If they allow us to carry it as a free checked in luggage nothing like it. In addition, we will research all the locally available kits in India as well. We may get lucky and find a cheaper one.
    Adarsha and I are full time college students. Running our program has been challenging. However, we have to make time and continue our work. We try and go at least twice a year. Our next goal is to research and find better alternatives.

  6. Thanks guys for the info. I think we may be able to get you a better kits in terms of pricing if you prefer to buy it locally in India. However, the quality of the kits made here in USA are a class apart! You have chosen the best. Obviously you have done your research. Asking Airlines help is a great approach. Good luck and keep up your great Job. I will see how I can help you out ASAP. Will be in touch Apoorva.

  7. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.

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