Hours after sunset on Thursday, it flickered on at the Press Club courtesy ‘Surya Vilakku’, an environment-friendly solar lamp developed by UST Global and city-based firm iX (Innovation Experience).
UST Global distributed 100 of the solar lamps manufactured from bamboo, recycled wood and coconut shells to students of various government schools in Thiruvananthapuram. Each unit costs around Rs 1,000 and can burn for four hours after it is charged for six hours, said Shyamkumar S, technical director of iX and the designer of the lamp.
Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed, who received the first lamp on behalf of the students, said solar energy offered the best compromise between environment protection and the need to generate more power. ‘’Solar energy offers the best way out of the present power crisis,’’ he said.
‘’Solar energy is green energy. The government will also look into the possibility of providing subsidy to ‘Surya Vilakku’ through the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT),’’ he said.
UST Global country head Alexander Varghese said that the lamps were made of 100-per cent biodegradable products. ‘’We wanted to ensure that the lamp enables a student to study for four to six hours after keeping it charged for four hours,’’ he said.
Shyamkumar said that he had embarked on the ‘Surya Vilakku’ project after the July 2012 grid breakdowns which left 60 crore people in darkness. ‘’If six crore of those people had solar lamps, at least they would have escaped total darkness. If ten lakh students switch off a 40 Watt bulb each and uses ‘Surya Vilakku’, we can save 40 MW,’’ he said.
Poet Sugathakumari said it was unwise to go in for deadly technologies like nuclear power projects instead of tapping the safe and clean solar power. K Muraleedharan MLA, Mayor K Chandrika and former diplomat K P S Menon Jr were present on the occasion.
Government schools, on the outskirts of the city, in Enchakkal, Kanjikkal, Kariyam, Kattayikonam, Kanyakulangara, Channakara, Aatinkuzhi and Manalakam – which are frequently visited by employees of UST Global for voluntary teaching sessions and donating school supplies, will benefit from this CSR initiative.