11000 Solar Based Street Lights Installed In Mining Areas Of Keonjhar
Keonjhar: In Keonjhar district of Odisha, every day when the sun sets, the life in rural villages comes to a standstill. With no proper street lights in the villages, all the daily activities, after dusk, were severely limited. There seemed no point in creating an infrastructure for street lights in a situation where the rural households were facing issues with the erratic power supply.
However, the district administration of Keonjhar with support of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) conceptualised a unique and novel project of installing 11000 solar based street lights in all the 473 mining affected villages of the district, covering 7 blocks namely Banspal, Champua, Harichandanpur, Hatadihi, Jhumpura, Joda and Sadar. The best part of these solar based street lights is that they are not dependent on electricity, rather they use sunlight as the source of power.
Each solar based street light consists of Solar Photovoltaic Modules (Solar Panels), Energy efficient LEDs, Lithium Ferro Phosphate Batteries, Control electronics, module mounting pole and other installations. The solar panels take energy from the sun and charge the battery during the day. This battery then powers the luminary after sunset.
Many locals were sceptical that the life of these solar street lights is limited, and such lights do not run for the entire night. But these street lights use energy efficient LEDs and state-of-the-art Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries for high illuminance and long life. Another interesting feature of these street lights are that they are equipped with motion sensor. So, in case of any movement, the sensor senses the movement and glows to full level. Then it returns to lower level after a while, when there is no movement. So, it conserves its own energy smartly.
Implemented at a cost of about Rs 25 crore under DMF, the impact can be seen in 473 villages covering more than 5 lakh people. The project, referred to as DMF Solar Street Lights, has transformed the way people conduct their daily lives in the rural villages. There is an enhanced sense of safety and security in these villages, as generally there are less crime related incidents, when the areas are illuminated with proper light.
The villagers have acknowledged that earlier various small activities were not possible like praying at a temple late after dark, studying in a group together, fetching water from a community point, etc. However, with the installation of solar based street lights, the time span for these activities have increased with enhanced safety.
The children in the villages are the immediate beneficiaries of the project, as the erratic power cuts adversely affected their studies. Now, many children in these villages study together in a group under these street lights which are independent of the power cuts.
There are villages which now conduct their community meetings after dark, which was not very convenient earlier. These meetings interestingly are catching larger audience as it is being realised that the people who went out for work during day, generally couldn’t attend any such meetings. But now it is possible for many such people to attend their community meeting, as it happens in the night. The solar based street lights have extended socio-economic, educational and recreational activities in the mining affected villages.
With the advancement of technology, we have seen major transformations around the world. However, these changes that have occurred in the lives of the people living in rural areas are to be understood as the best use case of technology – something that is practical, relevant and can be replicated across different remote and rural areas.