The Tamil Nadu Project is a rural electrification project jointly run by the University of Strathclyde, UK, and Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore. University of Strathclyde had floated a task to make a video on “Renewable energy in developing nations”. The winners of the task, Nishant Bilakanti and Shashank Badkul from VIT, were given an opportunity to visit the University of Strathclyde and take part in the design of an off-grid solar PV installation for Pravaham,an NGO in Tamil Nadu. Pravaham educates young girls of about 16 years of age, trains them as nursing assistants and also finds them employment.
“With regard to the project, 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,” says Nishanth. The installation started on September 1 and was completed by September 4. “My involvement in this project also gave me the opportunity to contribute to society in a tangible way. As a result of establishing this solar system, night classes can now be conducted at Pravaham. It was really satisfying to see the happy faces of students, when we completed the system,” shares teammate Shashank.
Nishant feels that with over 600 million people in India without access to electricity there is enormous potential in such rural electrification schemes.
“The discussions we had at Glasgow and the support we received during the course of the project has greatly enhanced my understanding of PV systems and how they can improve the quality of life for millions of people without access to electricity in developing nations,” he says.