National Solar Lantern Programme – A solar lantern can be regarded as an inexpensive substitute to a Solar Home System (SHS) providing 4-5 hours of good quality lighting service. The Light it provides is certainly of better quality than that coming from the use of candles or kerosene lamps. The same is also utilized to provide street lighting in rural areas. For that purpose, Light Emitting Diode (LED) solar lanterns are usually used. In a country like India, solar lanterns are usually used outside to supply lighting in the backyard or driveway or for other outdoor activities such as marine or camping applications. On a bigger scale, Solar LED lighting is also used for marine and aviation lights, road signs, road beacons, bus shelters, bus stops and many other applications. LEDs are sturdy and dependable surviving even high or low temperature and weather, vibration and Ultra Violet (UV). The Solar lantern programme is the scheme of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India in order to distribute 7 Million solar lanterns for school going children in the States like Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha where household grid connectivity is less than 50% as per the 2011 Census.
It is proposed to take up the deployment of 30,000 solar lanterns under 2006-07 Solar Lantern Programme. The Ministry will be providing a subsidy of Rs.2,400/- per solar lantern to the entitled beneficiaries in the un-electrified villages, hamlets of the (i) the Special Category States and the (ii) UT islands. A list of unelectrified villages would be ascertained by the executing agencies from REC from time to time. Moreover, the Ministry will also provide Rs.100 per lantern as service charges to the state nodal agencies/Departments and the Akshaya Urja shops. MNES will also provide Rs. 100 per lantern to the state nodal agencies/Departments towards inspection charges of solar lanterns sold by the Akshaya Urja shops. The subsidy will be provided only on eligible models of solar lanterns, procured from the pre-qualified manufacturers, after competitive bidding.
In order to encourage girl child to carry on with their studies, it is proposed to provide a solar lantern free of cost to a girl child belonging to a BPL family living in the un-electrified villages and hamlets of the special category states and UT islands. The allotment of solar lanterns to such girl child will be planned by the apprehensive SNAs through the District Administration to ensure verification of BPL status and for obtaining the details of the school and class of the girl child. The SNAs are required to maintain the complete record of girl child beneficiaries and make sure that strict observance and supervising of the provisions of the scheme in this regard would be followed. The distribution of solar lanterns to the girl child may be taken up in project mode.
Table of Contents
Objectives of National Solar Lantern Programme
- Generating a common understanding and sensitization campaigns in the rural communities, on the urgency to minimize carbon emission and implementing cleaner technologies through product exhibition.
- Creating a feasible market and long thriving supply chain for enhanced and cleaner energy technologies.
- Generating a regular source of income and acting as a provision of eradicating poverty by offering cleaner energy for homes and small businesses.
- Providing more access to finance for rural business startups and entrepreneurship.
- Providing a better alternative to kerosene and oil lamps, and the traditional three-stone-fire in rural communities by introducing solar lighting systems and clean cook-stoves and position India as a location point for renewable energy technologies.
Benefits of National Solar Lantern Programme
The solar lantern programme can help the larger population of India in the rural areas big time. Little children can easily finish up with their homework, money saved out of the electric charges can be further used to enhance the education and healthcare services, people can gather at one place for public meetings even at the night times and the provision of night classes and other socio-economic activities can also be performed. The lanterns are also cost-effective in comparison to a kerosene lamp. A study shows that an average family usually spends 200-300rs a month on kerosene. That takes It up to some thousands of rupees in the whole year. This means that an average household can save huge in terms of money and can use the same for other purposes as a solar lantern doesn’t have any extra cost except an alternating battery replacement. Moreover, The available local supply chains for spare parts can create employment opportunities for the people around in case of Solar lantern scheme gets adopted by the Locality.
Another benefit of the Solar lanterns is that they can be used in areas where there is no option of any other electrical lighting source. Clinics, hospitals, and schools could be the biggest beneficiaries out of this. While the amplified use of the solar lanterns can guide to a bigger manufacturing and supply system with bigger employment and income options available, it would also help in reducing national kerosene imports.
The lamps also bring social benefits by motivating leisure activities. Employment opportunities would be created in the manufacture and supply of the unit and spare parts.
Other benefits include:
-The Solar energy is pollution free and causes no greenhouse gases to be emitted
-Dependency on Kerosene and fossil fuels gets decreased
-Solar power is a Renewable clean power that is available every day of the year, except the cloudy days
-Big saving on Huge electricity bills
-Almost no maintenance charges for Solar lanterns
-Employment opportunities in case of Solar lanterns and spare parts sale
-No dependency on grid power if power generated provides enough for the home
-Easy installation and almost zero cost of batteries
-Solar power is much Safer than conventional electric current.
-Solar energy is not available at night time and on cloudy days
-Solar cells are cost-effective and necessitate a large initial capital investment. The Production of batteries for solar lanterns is also not cheap.
-Maintenance of batteries is always a hectic task to perform.
-Solar cells are very fragile therefore need to be handled properly and carefully
-Not all poor can afford the Solar lanterns due to it being cost-effective
National Solar Lantern Programme PDF
While this scheme can be termed as a bigger thought towards lighting all those underprivileged villages and remote areas, necessary steps and adequate measures shall be taken in order to ensure its better implementation around. From the production of the lanterns till its delivery to the needy persons, the procedure shall be tracked and supervised efficiently to make it a successful approach.