In power-starved Uttar Pradesh, where many villages go without electricity for as long as 16 hours a day, government primary school students in Lakhimpur Khiri have been taking lessons in basic computing for the past two years, thanks to solar photo-voltaic cells.
Billed as the first ever attempt in the state to battle power problems at the primary school level, these solar photo voltaic cells have been installed in 10-odd government primary schools under the Education for All Project, by the Lucknow-based Non Conventional Energy Development Agency (NEDA).
The cells have a 240 Watt capacity and run on 12-Volt 120 AH batteries, used for each computer in the schools.They have a back-up time of four hours.
This is how they work: the cells trap solar energy from sunlight, available in sufficient quantity. This is then converted into electricity and stored in an installed ‘battery bank’, for use even at night. Interestingly, the batteries provided by NEDA are charged in the schools by the AC electricity supply whenever the conventional mode of power is available.
Each unit of the solar photo-voltaic system costs nearly Rs. 52,800. NEDA is keen on installing more such power-generating systems in schools, provided the government is able to afford the high cost of solar photo voltaic systems.
“The success of the Lakhimpur Khiri project has bolstered our confidence to supply more units to other schools and even institutions of higher learning in the state,” a senior official who declined to be named, commented.