IDUKKI: With the installation of a micro-grid solar power station at Puravayal tribal colony in Marayur, a first of its kind in a tribal settlement, the decades-old dream of tribals regarding electrification will finally be fulfilled.
The initiative has been hailed as a major step towards promoting renewable energy and a significant contribution to environment protection. The Thiruvananthapuram-based CDAC Power Electronics Group is the agency implementing the project. “The 25 kilowatt on-grid rooftop solar energy system has been installed in a 50 cent area inside the settlement in the Marayur sandalwood reserve,” a CDAC official told Express. “The plant is set to start power production by the end of May after completion of the final works.”
“Under the scheme, each household gets four LED bulbs, one ceiling fan and a plug-in socket. As many as 25 households will get the facilities which are implemented as part of the ‘micro grid village’ project of the Central Government aimed at providing electricity to places where power supply via power lines are not possible,” the official said.
“Only individual solar lights were offered to every household in other villages in the state so far. This is for the first time a micro grid solar power plant is being implemented in a tribal village in the state,” the official said.
Our plan is to provide uninterrupted power supply. The plant will produce 25 kilowatt power per day, however only a few watts are required to light up the households. The surplus power will be used to charge the batteries during the day and the batteries will supply power to households at night. Yet, there comes some excess power, which will be used for lighting the street lights put up at the settlement through a Low Voltage (LVDC) power system, “ he said.
The technical team completed the entire process in seven months, but commissioning became a daunting task owing to lack of road connectivity. Big solar panels, interconnectors, batteries and diesel generators each weighing 1 tonne, controllers, poles and cables reached the tribal settlement from Marayur in a pick up van. Materials had to be transported through the hilly terrain.
The cooperation of tribal people helped in the completion of the project. A 14-member team of engineers from CDAC camped at the settlement for the successful completion of the project. With the power plant becoming functional, the tribals will no longer have to depend on kerosene lamps.