North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Saturday, July 2, 2011

India's rural poor go solar

Avoiding the gloomy, violent Middle East (see several past updates), a fine story emerges from India.

Where so much infrastructure goes unbuilt, and Indian cities famous for their rats nest of bootlegged wiring, India's rural and poorer regions are finding satisfaction in purchasing simple solar panels, batteries, and light bulbs. The result, and often for the first time, families are reading and working at night, benefiting from decent lighting instead of that offered by kerosene lanterns.

These three pictures show typical rat's nests of illegal wires being hooked up. These individual lines are siphoning off power from the official electrical branch lines for personal use, and together, estimates are that up to half of the power of India's electrical grid is thus "stolen"

An AP article describes it thus, "Boommi Gowda used to fear the night. Her vision fogged by glaucoma, she could not see by just the dim glow of a kerosene lamp, so she avoided going outside where king cobras slithered freely and tigers carried off neighborhood dogs.

Typical kerosene dim light in the evenings

But things have changed at Gowda's home in the remote southern village of Nada. A solar-powered lamp pours white light across the front of the mud-walled hut she shares with her three grown children, a puppy and a newborn calf. Now she can now cook, tend to her livestock and get water from a nearby well at night."

Solar panel being secured to roof

According to the article, 40 percent of India's rural households lack electricity and nearly a third of its 30 million agricultural water pumps run on subsidized diesel, solar panels off-grid are being pushed by aid programs and the government itself.

Click on image for full picture

The right side of this image shows the rural areas struggling to connect to the electrical grid

Selco Solar Light Ltd. is one company leading the effort, and is owned by three foreign aid organizations. It has fitted solar panels to 125,000 rural homes.

Happy people just standing around talking at night

Happy people now able to make cigarettes at night (bidis, a type of cigarette.)

Whatever the use of light, experts are wondering whether solar panels will take off as cell phones have around the world, bypassing the more conventional utility grid approach to power and communications.

Teatree remembers in 1986, a very similar panel attached to a car battery being able to store enough power during the day to provide "homework" light at a Secondary Girls school in Kenya.

A fine story indeed!


Teatree said...

Just a note regarding my wording "up to half of the power of India's electrical grid is stolen."

Probably true technically, I certainly read enough about it, and the pictures show a lot of power taken off by "entreprenurial" means.

But I could have also written it, just as easily "that due to frustrations dealing with officialdom, bribes, favoritism, and lack of accountability in service and billings, there is a rampant siphoning off of power - both by employees of power companies and skilled individuals having the ability to do so - which acts as a detriment to further investments and trust in the national institutions."

Wordy, but more accurate.

Sarah said...

Great story! (And good additional note)

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