Friday, December 07, 2007

Alternative energy: Power outage? Turn to Solar Tuki


Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, December 6:
Load shedding is not a new phenomena in Nepal and fighting darkness during the power outage sometimes become a nightmare for people who have to rely on Tuki (kerosene-lamps), candles or low quality “emergency lights” with rechargeable batteries.
But now there is a durable solution — using Solar Tuki, a cheap solar lighting system.
Tuki is a traditional kerosene-lamp widely used in the cities and the villages for illumination and a Solar Tuki is a set of two units of 0.3 Watt White Light Emitting Diodes (WLED) powered by solar energy supplied through a built-in Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries, charged by 3 Watt solar photo voltaic panel.
The lamp unit also has a 3 Volt outlet for connecting a FM/AM radio. The fully charged Solar Tuki works for eight hours.
A newer version of the lamp, named Solar Tuki Plus, even supports a cellular mobile phone and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) phone charger or a 12 Volt TV or a fan for improved cooking-stove.
Such lamps have already been popular in remote villages and are now waiting to be introduced in other areas.
In rural context, such lamps have been effective to reduce use of kerosene, help children study in the evenings, minimise indoor pollution and also to be informed by listening to radios in the places where there is no electricity.
“After distributing Solar Tuki in different remote districts across the country, we are concentrating on urban populations who need an alternative energy source for lighting homes during the load-shedding hours,” said Yogendra Chitrakar, the director of Environment Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA). In the urban context, such lights could be a relief for students, housewives as well as businessmen by using it for lighting purpose, he said.
The Tukis are now assembled in Nepal these days with materials imported from China, Taiwan and other countries and the lamp unit set with a solar recharge panel and two lamps costs Rs 3150 to 3500 and bears a guarantee for two to five years. A Solar Tuki consumes very low energy but produces sufficient light. Some three hours’ charge is sufficient
to illuminate a room for nine hours.
Over a dozen factories in the capital assemble such lamps. Sahadev Byanjankar, the chief of the Green Engineering and Technology Lab (GETL) said: “We have been producing the Solar Tukis from the past eight months. We have a capacity to produce 100 to 150 pieces in a month,” he said.
The solar-based lighting system, has also been awarded with the US Innovation Award by the US Tech Museum, for its innovative technology and utility.
[ KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 07, 2007, Mangsir 21, 2064]