P Ramadass is a fruit-juice stall owner from Puducherry. A fruit-juice stall owner means that he is the common man you meet on the streets daily and forget on a regular basis. But Ramadass is the juice seller who might just be wiser than you. His stall is powered by solar energy from panels fitted on the top of his cart.
The power generated by the panels is around 1,000 watts, enough to charge mechanical devices such as one freezer, a mixer and a light installed in his cart.
Ramadass said that while the idea was his, it was executed by Phocos India Solar Private Limited. He had to pay for his cart only. The firm told Express that it took them only Rs.1.4 lakh to install the panels on the cart. India is slowly moving towards utilizing solar power to meet its ever-growing demand for energy. Governments, both in the Centre and the States, are increasingly becoming aware of its advantages. The one thing lacking might be awareness among the larger masses – not many use solar energy in their homes. But Ramadass looks like an agent of change.
A recent study conducted by Deloitte and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has revealed that not even one percent of India’s total solar energy potential has been harvested till date.
The National Institute of Solar Energy pegs India’s solar power potential at 749 GW.
Tata Power CEO Ashish Khanna told Indian Express
“There are 300 million people in India without power; 400 million people are supplied erratic power; more than half the population of India does not get proper power.”
One good news is the fact that the total installed solar power capacity in India grew from 14 MW in 2010 to around 3,744 MW by March 2015.
The Union Cabinet approved a plan in June that’ll increase India’s solar power capacity five-fold to 100,000 megawatts by 2022.
That is equivalent to roughly one-third of the country’s current total electricity generation capacity.
Government organisations and PSUs are increasingly going solar.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is holding talks for supply of 2,000 MW of solar power through the central transmission network, which will enable it to go completely solar.
Even the Indian Railways is looking at running its locomotives on solar power and installing panels across station platforms, the Economic Times reports. While this change in ‘power’ is happening at the top, it will be people like Ramadass who will be remembered for spreading awareness about non-conventional energy among the general masses who constitute the bottom.