THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The street by the NABARD staff quarters, till recently, had no lights. Rather, it had street lights, but they never worked. But thanks to an initiative from NABARD, the whole area is now lit up with solar lights, two with a single solar panel and one with a double solar panel.
"We are supportive of any technology that is environment-friendly and sustainable. The solar lights were highly required there and this venture was just to showcase the technology so that it is taken up on a larger scale,’’ said NABARD Chief General Manager KC Shashidhar.
What is interesting about these solar panels is that they require no one to switch them on and off. These are designed to intelligently switch on and switch off on their own depending on the sunlight. "When the sunlight goes down below a certain limit, the light switches on and when it goes up beyond that limit, it switches off,’’ said Shyamkumar S, technical director of TGCI, Vellayani, who designed the lights.
The NABARD staff quarters now have three wall-mounted street lights of which one is exceptionally bright. "Well, we told Shyam we needed 3-4 street lights that are suited to our conditions. The brilliant innovator that he is, Shyam came up with these lamps which have sealed batteries, which means zero maintenance,’’ said NABARD Thiruvananthapuram general manager K N Jnanendra.
While the project was funded by NABARD, the implementation and maintenance is by Megabyte Technologies, Vellayambalam. These lights could be ideal as yard lights in flats and villas, say the designers. "Actually the KSEB, which has lakhs of street lights in the state, can convert them to such solar street lamps. The automatic dawn-to-dusk controller also ensures that no electricity is wasted,’’ said Shyamkumar.
The wall-mounted solar lamps have a backup of about 16 hours. This means that energy for burning the street lamps continuously for 16 hours is available, but what is actually needed is for less than 12 hours. The lamps switch on around 6.45 pm these days and remain lit till the next morning. Since the sun rises early now, the lamp switches off on its own before 6 am.
These lights have become a boon to the hundreds of residents in the area, not to mention the inmates of the NABARD quarters. The lamps are a little expensive, the cost of installing a small one itself coming to Rs 8,000, but they would become affordable if the government subsidy is made use of.
"I would say that the cost factor should not deter anyone at all, especially when you think of it on a long-term basis. This has no recurring costs and it does not require any maintenance at all,’’ said Jnanendra.
He was highly appreciative of Shyamkumar, who designed the lights. "My intention was just to show them that such alternative sources of energy can be put to good use. It is up to the KSEB and others to try this out and use it for common good and energy conservation,’’ said Shyamkumar, who has come up with a number of such Green solutions in the city.