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Consumer Surplus

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Localization of Solar Energy through Local Assembly, Sale and Usage

Localization of Solar Energy through Local Assembly, Sale and Usage

Jayendran Venkateswaran| Assistant Professor, IEOR, IIT Bombay

Jayendran Venkateswaran| Assistant Professor, IEOR, IIT Bombay

“PRICE OF one SOLAR LAMP FOR STUDY PURPOSE = COST OF KEROSENE FOR THREE MONTHS”

“PRICE OF one SOLAR LAMP FOR STUDY PURPOSE = COST OF KEROSENE FOR THREE MONTHS”

Jayendran Venkateswaran

Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (IEOR), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

Academic Background:
Ph.D., Systems and Industrial Engineering [with minor in Biomedical Engineering], The University of Arizona, Tucson

M.S., Industrial Engineering, the University of Arizona, Tucson
M.Sc. (Tech.), Engineering Technology, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India

One Million Solar Urja Lamps (SoUL):
Co-investigator, Million SoUL project

Jayendran Venkateswaran

Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (IEOR), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

Academic Background:
Ph.D., Systems and Industrial Engineering [with minor in Biomedical Engineering], The University of Arizona, Tucson

M.S., Industrial Engineering, the University of Arizona, Tucson
M.Sc. (Tech.), Engineering Technology, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India

One Million Solar Urja Lamps (SoUL):
Co-investigator, Million SoUL project

As a part of Operations Continuum 2014, Prof. Jayendran Venkateswaran, Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, IIT Bombay, delivered a talk on Localization of Solar Energy through Local Assembly, Sale and Usage. He begun his session by elaborating on why utilization of Solar Energy is important. As he mentioned, the Indian economy is growing at a very high rate and each year more than 17 million people are being added to the Indian population. Hence, our nation needs more energy supply, which can be fulfilled by the import of coal & crude oil but their reserves are slowly vanishing from our planet. So the only options left to us for a sustainable future are Solar, Wind & Nuclear energy. He then spoke about how Kerosene oil is used by almost 7.8cr families for lighting (acc. to census 2011) and 10.5 billion litres of kerosene is used annually in our country. Next, he highlighted the problem of electricity in the rural areas. Without electricity, studying at night becomes a problem for students. As he mentioned, there is no lack of talent in those areas but it is the education which these people lack. Next, he moved on to the concept behind the Solar Urja Lamp project - to solve the issue of studying without electricity and enable every student to get educated & lead a better life. Talking about the technicalities involved in solar lamps, he explained that these lamps will be attached to solar panels which will serve as a source of energy for the lamps.
Next he moved on to the topic of Localization. He stated that the solar lamps are assembled locally thereby involving local people in all aspects, which will be the key to the success of this project. He said that everything right from assembly to service will be done by the local people to provide timely and convenient help.
Next, he mentioned that focus should not only be on direct return but also on indirect return with a vision of at least 20-25 years. Citing an example, he said although the demand line of cement in Mumbai has increased by 60% in past 40 years, there has been hardly any improvement in infrastructure which is a major hindrance and hence when one thinks of strategy, it is important to think beyond. Moreover localization will help in better availability of these lamps.
He also talked about two models in particular i.e. Saturation model and Doability model. He said that this lamp should be made available to every child in the block and by subsidizing at the local level, it is affordable even to the poorest at Rs 120. This saturation will help in continuous assessment of the impact of solar lamps. Regarding the Doability model, he explained that the NGO's play a major part in implementing the whole project. Since these organizations are working on the ground, they have knowledge of people, culture, language and region to implement it effectively.
Next he moved on to the Project objectives which were - Localization in assembly, distribution and service of high quality study lamps, Distribution of 1 Million SoULs to 1 Million students in rural India through the model of block saturation, in a time bound manner and Research on the impact of solar technology on various socio - economic indicators at the grassroots level.
As an ending note, he explained the implementation & financial models of the project. He said that 1 million SoUL project was coordinated in IIT Bombay. He then mentioned that Assembly-cum-Distribution centers are established at block level through NGO premises. Locals from each blocks are hired and trained as assemblers & distributors. Distribution of SoULs typically happens through the local schools, and is sold to students of class 5th to 12th. It is ensured that only 1 lamp is sold to a school child at the subsidized price of Rs.120. Also, the basic information about each beneficiary is recorded. He then added that Repair & Maintenance centers will be set-up in blocks to ensure longer term sustainability & free servicing be provided till Dec 2015 to student beneficiaries. He then moved on to the Funding model. The total funds for this project is contributed by three partners: 36% from the National Clean Energy Funds (NCEP), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Govt. of India; 40% from various philanthropic partners and 24% comes directly from the student beneficiaries. The total cost of the Solar Urja Lamp (SoUL) is Rs. 500
He concluded by stating the possible positive impacts of this project that includes reduction in school dropout rate and illiteracy, Improvement in attendance and performance of students in schools, reduction in kerosene consumption, reduction of CO2 emission, providing direct employment to 1000 people and entrepreneurship development and safety from fire & health benefits.
Student Feedback: * This session showed us clearly how innovation & technology can be utilized to make this world a better place for everyone else. * His session was very interesting and it helped us get a better understanding of how to implement our entrepreneurship ideas in the real world. * It was a highly informative session as it showed us some of the current trends in the industry and the need of continuous innovation

Student Feedback: * This session showed us clearly how innovation & technology can be utilized to make this world a better place for everyone else. * His session was very interesting and it helped us get a better understanding of how to implement our entrepreneurship ideas in the real world. * It was a highly informative session as it showed us some of the current trends in the industry and the need of continuous innovation…...

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