Amrita Partner(s) : 1st Year M.Tech and Ph. D. students, Center for Wireless Networks & Applications
Village : Mothakara, Kerala
Project Duration : 4 months
Identified Challenge & Aim :
Many villages in India do not have access to electricity. Villages that do receive power intermittently and with frequent disruption, making the supply of electricity unreliable. While government projects and initiatives have come a long way to address the massive challenge of complete rural electrification, a more localized and sustainable solution is warranted.
The Study/Innovation :
The team first conducted a survey to understand social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and technological factors and features in the village. They also went around the village and made a resource map. This gave the team a clear picture of the sustainable resources available in the village and helped the team understand the quantity of the resources available. This was subsequently followed by group discussions with villagers to understand current challenges in access to electricity and other sources of energy. The team discovered that electrical connectivity was limited to a few houses and they were so poorly wired that the residents were in danger of electrical shock. Additionally, most residents were too poor to pay their electric bills.
During the field survey, the team observed that there wasn’t sufficient wind available due to many trees and water resources were only available sporadically throughout the year. There were, however, clear areas where solar panels could be installed so the team and the villagers decided to go with that option.
The 42 houses were grouped in 6 clusters spread over two small mountains, where each solar energy generation unit would cater to six to ten houses. The team finally designed, developed, and installed microgrids that now provide electricity to all 300 village residents.