It is an important milestone to complete a solar installation in every unelectrified household in a community. In the last week of July we celebrated this in the expanded Haji Ali shorefront community in central July. Many thanks to all Project Light supporters who have made this possible.
Further solar installations completed pre-monsoon, benefiting Central Mumbai communities in Tardeo and Haji Ali.
Project Light has been alerted to another unelectrified community in Central Mumbai, by a recent article in the Hindustan Times newspaper reporting on an exhibition about urban deprivation:
There are around 40 homes in this community along Bodyguard Lane (Tardeo) lacking electricity, some with residents who have been living there for 2 or 3 generations. Project Light has now completed an initial installation in some of these homes (including the three generations of one family featured in the top photo of the HT article). We hope to bring solar-powered light and electricity to all these homes in the near future.
(For the online version of the HT newspaper story, see: http://www.hindustantimes.com/art-and-culture/without-walls-bringing-humans-of-mumbai-s-sidewalks-to-focus/story-S0pEX7Jq7Ors2oULioYsNI.html)
Further solar installations completed in the community living literally on the rocks of Haji Ali Bay in Central Mumbai. Some families have been living there for over 20 years.
Maintaining close contact with the Haji Ali community to ensure the solar devices installed are working well and meeting residents' needs. In this video Mohammed says how solar lighting and electricity is making a positive difference to daily life:
Initial solar installation with families living in a tented community in Haji Ali, Central Mumbai. There are about 20 dwellings literally "on the rocks" of the scenic Haji Ali bay, immediately adjacent to the Haji Ali promenade and yet out of sight of the hundreds of thousands of people who drive daily on the busy highway just metres away.
Residents are a mixture of Muslim and Hindu, with most having been born in Mumbai and lived in the city for their whole lives. Each tent typically contains two adults and 2-4 children, who attend a nearby school. The families lack access to any electricity, relying on streetlights some distance away for the dimmest of light after sunset, and currently have to pay 5-10 rupees daily for mobile phone charging.
Project Light hopes to build on our initial solar installations here and provide solar-powered light and recharge units for all the families. Please donate if you are able to support this.
Another previously-unelectrified village is illuminated by Project Light. Solar units are installed in all 24 houses and the school of this hillside tribal village, located 46km from central Mumbai. Many thanks to the Inner Wheel club of Mulund, and donors from UK and USA, who provided support for this project.
Solar lights installed in a Marathi community living close to the railway tracks near Mahim station, Mumbai. There are about 80 people in the community, who have been living there without electricity for many years. Up to now they have had to pay neighbouring houses to recharge their basic mobile phones. Many thanks to all Project Light supporters who have made this new installation possible.
Further site-visit to Prabalmachi tribal village (located on an isolated mountain plateau 50km from Mumbai) along with a group of scientists from the CSIR laboratory in Chennai. It was wonderful to meet Nilesh Bhutambara, originally from the village, who has ambitious plans to improve conditions, energy, health, employment and economic opportunities in the village. On our visit we discussed these, analysing the energy requirements and thinking about how Project Light can be involved. We also installed a new solar lighting system, greatly benefiting village residents.
Starting a pilot project with scientists from Bristol, UK, to integrate Project Light's solar lighting with their innovative Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology which can generate electricity from urine. Trial sites of suitable public urinals for retrofitting in Mumbai identified, with a view to the project starting in early 2016. A successful outcome could lead to the technology being rolled out in off-grid locations, improving toilet conditions and safety (and thereby improving sanitation and health outcomes). Further details of the pioneering MFC researchers can be read in this Financial Times article.
Linking up with Piconergy and Bhushan Trivedi to discuss and collaborate on solar projects, technical specifications and distribution and roll-out strategies. Piconergy are doing super work, principally in northern Mumbai, developing the "Helios" solar lighting system and installing this in residential houses and street-side small businesses.
Work starting on a big, comprehensive solar energy installation for Prabalgad, a hill-top tribal village located around 50km from Mumbai. Prabalgad is at an altitude of 450m, at the foot of Kalvantin Durg - a very impressive pinnacle that is used for treks.
The village comprises around 60 houses and a school. It is not connected by road, and currently has a very weak and intermittent one-phase power supply that often leaves villagers without electricity for weeks at a time. We have previously installed solar lanterns in various houses in the village.
The new projects involves working with community leader Nilesh Bhutambara, the Prabalgad NGO he created, and Bangalore-based Mesha Technologies (who develop systems that store energy using innovative Hybrid Ultra Capacitor technology). We are currently auditing technical requirements with a view to implementing an appropriate system that meets villagers' needs.
21 August, 2015
More powerful solar installation completed in Valap village school. This has been designed to meet local needs: the solar panel and storage and control unit are sufficient to power 5 strip lights, 2 sizeable fans and a plug socket capable of running the recently installed laptop.
(Very encouragingly, the school teacher has reported that having a laptop in the classroom has significantly boosted children's' daily attendance at school. For the past few weeks the teacher needed to recharge the battery each evening at his home outside the village)
As well as boosting education, the intention is for the newly-electrified school and laptop to become a useful resource to aid the whole village community. The technology and enhanced connectivity it brings has the potential to benefit communication, economic activity, entertainment and quality of life more generally. We are working with villagers, the teacher and local Sarpanch (community leader) to achieve this.
Further unelectrified villages have been identified that would like and greatly benefit from similar installations. All this work is coordinated by Project Light free of charge, with no overheads. Please consider donating towards this.
Exciting new collaboration started with Indian Army, testing solar lighting units in remote mountainous villages in Kashmir.
July 14, 2015
Laptop and e-learning resources installed in Valap village school, and are very gratefully received. Solar setup for the school to adequately power this is being finalised....
July 12, 2015
Project Light is featured in a write-up in DNA, a major Indian newspaper:
Links established with a new community of 150 people living under Western Express Highway (Kala Nagar flyover, near BKC) in Bandra, Mumbai. 2 solar lights have been donated, but many more are required.
Development of communal solar power units continues. Site visits to school in Valap village, and meeting with the teacher and sarpanch to discuss requirements and project timelines
Progress made in identifying and forming links with new, unelectrified villages, and in developing bigger solar, more communal systems (including for schools) for Phase 2 of village projects. More news coming soon!
On 28 May, the remaining houses in Valap village were fitted with solar units, bring light to all 53 houses there for the first time.
April 29, 2015
Solar lighting units / recharging powerpoints / fans were installed in a further 25 houses in Valap village, bringing lighting to a further 111 residents. In this video, village resident Kamlya explains the difference that lights have made to his house and how the village will benefit from Project Light's activities:
Here are some new photos taken in the village:
We hope to complete Phase I, bringing lighting to all the remaining houses in Valap village,in early May. We are also seeking donations for phase 2 of the project: to install more powerful solar systems to the village schoolhouse and for community use. Please contact us if you are able to donate.
April 10, 2015
Thanks to very generous donations from the running community in Mumbai, led by Mumbai Road Runners and other groups, sponsorship has been raised to fund solar installations in the remaining 47 houses in Valap village. Work is underway to procure and install appropriate equipment.
March 14-31, 2015
Lighting and power systems installed in homes in 5 communities, bringing light to 95 residents and saving 3400kg of CO2 emissions. Communities benefiting:
- Worli slum (Central Mumbai)
- Bandra Reclamation Slum (Mumbai)
- Gilbert Hill (Mumbai)
- Prabalgad Village (50km from Mumbai)
- Valap Village (40km from Mumbai, see map)