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Solar lamp replaces hazardous kerosene in Indian villages

Page history last edited by Rosemary 9 years, 3 months ago

Solar lantern replaces hazardous kerosene lamp in Indian villages

While Hyderabad is thriving with India’s rapid economic expansion, thousands of slum dwellers and people in remote villages still live without energy and are forced to depend on kerosene lamps. A new solar-powered lantern is replacing the smoky, flickering, and potentially deadly kerosene wick lamp that is used by an estimated 100 million households in India as their main source of light.

Noble Energy Solar Technology (NEST) brings small, lightweight Aishwarya® solar lamps to remote off the grid areas of India, powered by a solar panel which generates four hours of light. The solar lamps are the brainchild of Dharmappa Barki who, at the age of nine, witnessed the tragic death of his baby cousin from burns caused by a fallen kerosene lamp. Barki named his invention after Aishwarya Ray, India’s Miss World and rising Bollywood star, because he says both carry beauty and brains.

Posted on YouTube by Ashden Awards Feb. 26, 2008

By working closely with a network of dealers and sub-dealers, through whom they provide credit, spares and support, NEST has enabled very poor people in the most remote villages to buy the lanterns, priced at $30 US, without subsidies. Over 75% of the Aishwarya lanterns produced by NEST have been sold in this way, throughout the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Reliable light makes an enormous difference to everyday village life, keeping nuisance pigs away from crops and allowing women to process food products at night and children to read and study without worrying about fumes or fire.

More than 100,000 solar panels are manufactured each year at the Hyderabad factory, and NEST has just received an order for a million and a half units from South Africa. They’ve also developed a lantern with a built-in radio, a solar powered fan and a mini solar desk lamp, and are experimenting with solar street lights.

The lamp won an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in 2005. Barki, who spent 12 years in the large scale solar power sector before starting NEST, knows the award is a sign of greater things to come. "It is a recognition for our work that is not just in one village, that is global phenomenon that is taking place."

This story was compiled from Earth Report, the Ashden Awards site, and Global Village News and Resources. Contact: Noble Energy Solar Technologies, A9, Aero View Towers, Shamlal Buildings, Begumpet, Hyderabad-500 016, AP, India. Email


For other stories about alternatives to kerosene lamps, see:

Unbreakable kerosene lamps win top prize in World Challenge 2009


For other stories about solar power, see:

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