Student founders of the project ‘Ashadeep’, have developed a low-cost lighting solution for rural households in India. The system uses a chemical solution, solar panels, and a battery to illuminate light emitting diodes at night or during power outages. The system is currently being piloted among 15 households through self-help groups. The objective of the project is to have the solution transferred to self-help groups and create a business model so that the women can also earn revenue through its manufacturing and distribution.

PUNE: Students from the Social Entrepreneurship and Consulting Cell of Symbiosis Institute of Business Management ( SIBM) have come up with a project to provide low-cost lighting units to rural households without electricity.

Addressing a news conference on Saturday, Kailash Yar, the founder of the project ‘Ashadeep’, said, “We have been working with self-help groups for the last two years. During our market research, we found that villagers required emergency lights due to frequent power outages in villages. We looked at the Phillippines model of providing lighting units without the need for electricity. We started working on this model here and after six months of testing, we came up with a product that is economical and useful to villagers at night.”

Vinod Shastri, faculty in-charge of the cell, said, “The device has a system wherein it lights up a room during the day with the help of a liquid solution (mixture of bleach and water) in a plastic bottle while the solar panel charges a battery. When the sun sets, the charged battery illuminates the light emitting diodes ( LED) in the device at nights, or during power outages.”

Total 15 lighting units have been installed in Nande village and the students are planning to install 35 more. The entire expense is being borne by Symbiosis Institute.

Vidya Yeravdekar, principal director of Symbiosis Institute, hopes to transfer the technical knowhow to self-help groups (SHGs) in the villages and also create a viable business model for them to make money.

“We have been in contact with various heads of villages to identify various SHGs to teach them the process and create a manufacturing hub in villages around Pune. The Akashdeep project is a corporate social responsibility initiative. We also want to set up manufacturing hubs in villages and gradually provide these lighting devices across the state,” she added.