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Rural Electrification in India with LEDs and Solar!

Photonics.com
Jul 2009
Jul. 28, 2009 — In one of my earlier posts, I'd referred to OnLeo Global Solutions and its endeavor to develop intelligent LED street lights. Well, this very topic of providing affordable electrification all across India came up once again during a recent chat with Sandeep Shirodkar, director, business development - APA, telecom, media and utilities industries, SAP Asia Pte Ltd.

Now, you may ask, what's SAP doing in photonics, or even LEDs, and rural electrification, and possibly, solar? Good question!

SAP, for one, is investing in utilities. This includes sustainability -- optimal support of maintenance and compliance processes for any type of power plants in India; as well as automated metering interface (AMI @ SAP). This includes the process and data integration of SAP for utilization to AMI systems and smart asset systems. It is all geared up to play a major role in rural electrification programs.

Now, rural electrification is of significant importance in India. Clearly, there is a role for both LEDs and solar photovoltaics to combine and make this happen in the remotest of the Indian villages. Solar/PV has a special attraction for India. It converts solar to electricity without involving any moving parts.

In fact, I don't know how many people are aware that, for instance, in Karnataka state, there are said to be 20-odd lakh (2 million) Bhagya Jyoti and Kutir Jyoti units, and around 7,870-odd street lights. If a majority of these can be replaced by solar, it could lead to tremendous savings! This could be at least 57 MW for a state like Karnataka. Apparently, all of this would require an investment of Rs. 52 crores and a payback time of two years, as per an industry expert.

Now, consider this scenario: where LEDs lamps could also be used for rural electrification. Perhaps, lesser electricity poles would be required! And what. if all of these poles were electrified by solar -- and used to light all of those LED lamps!

In India, one can already find LED solar lanterns from Tata BP Solar, which use high-power LEDs and work five hours every night on a single charge. Am very sure that this can be easily extended to run for a good 10 hours or even more. Outdoor solar-powered lighting systems are also available in both LED and CFL versions.

There are several pioneers in India who believe that the combination of solar and LEDs will provide a boon as far as rural electrification is concerned. Such folks need to be lauded!

Pradeep

July 28, 2009









GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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