Since its inception in 1984, Aurore has installed standard as well as customized renewable energy systems all over India, often in remote locations. Below is an (incomplete) overview of our work so far.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zanskar 2009: another 2.4 kWp installed!

Lamdon Model High School (LMHS) solar array, Ufti

AURORE installed it's first solar panel in Zanskar in 2003 and in the subsequent years a total of 3.15 kWp has been installed on Zanskari school roofs (as well as one clinic).his year saw a dramatic increase after we added a whopping 2.4 kWp (kiloWatt peak) to that total.

SECPAD school hostel 900 Wp solar array

32 new 75 Wp solar panels were installed this year at the SECPAD school hostel in Karsha-Yulsum (12 no.) and at the Lamdon Model High School (LMHS) in Ufti (20 no.). LMHS increased its existing solar array from 450 Wp to 1950 Wp!

Lamdon Model High School solar array under assembly

The schools in Zanskar are starting to use more and more computers, for administration but also for educating the children and making them computer literate. Teachers are increasingly using DishTV satellite systems to keep informed (and entertained!) from the outside world. Satellite internet is the next logical step to bridging the digital divide in this remote mountain region.

Overview of all 3 LMHS solar arrays - 1950 Wp in total, the largest in Zanskar!

Fitting the solar array cable at SECPAD school hostel, a tricky operation

The SECPAD hostel battery room under construction

Another "first" this year was the installation of the first solar refrigerator at the Sani clinic. Sani received a 1 kWp solar system last year and is now the proud owner of a Phocos/Sundanzer 50 liter solar fridge. It intends to use it for vaccine storage.

The new Phocos/Sundanzer solar refrigerator at Sani Clinic (with Rainer & Jos)

An unexpected use of the Sani solar system was the running of a 1/2 HP water pump to faciliate the irrigation of the compound. The solar system was handling it easily.

Finally, we went back to Jamyang Ling school in Raru as well this year. This is where we installed our first solar system in 2003 in the school's hostel. The battery bank that was installed at the time was getting too small, and we replaced it with a larger one to accommodate the increased power demand.

The new Jamyang Ling school hostel battery bank, Raru

All in all a very fruitful 2009, and we are looking forward to returning to Ladakh in 2010 for some more solar work. There is a lot of interest in solar water heaters in the region.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

First pressurized ETC solar water heater installed

On July 28th Aurore technicians Ramesh and Norbu went to Mamallapuram to install the first of our new pressurized Evacuated Tube Collector (ETC) solar water heaters at Hotel Radha, situated near the famous Pancha Rathas.

The new ETC system can handle mains pressures of up to 4 bar, as opposed to only 0.4 bar for the normal ETCs.

The 240 lpd (liters per day) system is on trail and if proven successful, Hotel Radha is going to install additional systems.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Reducing the burden - Solar pumping in Melghat

Maitri is a Pune-based NGO working with local communities in the remote Melghat region of Maharashtra state, close to the border with Madhya Pradesh.
In one of the villages, Ruipathar, the women had to carry all the water they need for running their household (except laundry) up the hill, usually 2 or 3 times a day.

Maitri first contacted Aurore India in March 2008 to inquire about a solar pumping system for Ruipathar village in Melghat. Rishi went for an assessment to Melghat in April, and subsequently Maitri managed to raise the funds to implement this project.
The solar pumping system was designed to pump water from a borewell some 50 m at the bottom of the hill to a tank right in the centre of the village.
An Aurore India team, consisting of Rajesh, Manikandan, Nitin and Jos arrived in Melghat on July 10th, and immediately started the work.
The villagers had already dug most of the long trench from the borewell to the tank.
The best location for the solar panels was agreed upon with the villagers and work the casting of the foundations for the manual trackers started.

On day 2 the HDPE water pipe was unrolled, connected to the submersible pump and lowered into the borehole.

On the final day of installation (day 3) the solar panels were mounted onto the trackers and wired up to supply DC current to the pump.
The pump was switched ON and water started to flow into the tank. You should have seen the faces of the villagers! :-)

We stayed on for another day to make sure the system was pumping fine and help the local plumber with putting in the distribution lines to the tap-stands.

At the end of the day the team could relax and prepare for their return to Auroville

After all the excitement of the past days village life returned to normal, with the exception that women carrying water on their heads up the hill will become more of a rarity in Raipathar village from now onwards.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

ETCs in the cold

Not long ago Aurore India was contacted by EcoSphere Spiti who were interested to introduce renewable energy technologies in beautiful Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh.

Spiti has the same cold and dry climate as Ladakh and it was decided to see whether our ETC solar water heaters could survive in this harsh climate during the cold winters, where temperatures drop to minus 30 degrees Celcius, and still provide useful quantities of hot water.

2 ETC with slightly thicker tank insulation (60 mm instead of 50 mm) were shipped to Kaza in June, the main town in Spiti Valley, where EcoSphere has its office, and Jos went there to help with the installation and give a full training on the systems.
(at the same time 2 more systems were shipped to Leh, Ladakh, for a similar trial there at a guesthouse).

In Kaza one of the ETCs was installed at the EcoSphere office roof during an on-the-job training session. Everybody helped out and learned, and lots of photographs were taken.

The next day we installed the second system at an old people's home in Ki village, which is run by Buddhist nuns. This time the system was installed by only the EcoSphere co-workers and they did a perfect job!

Now the experimenting starts and we're looking forward to see how the ETCs will perform in both Spiti and Leh over the coming winter.

One important lessons learned on this project was that by transporting the glass evacuated tubes vertically, we can avoid a lot of breakage on the way.

On the 10 hour trip in a pickup truck from Manali to Kaza, on very rough roads, not a single tube broke! Vertical makes all the difference.

All in all a job well done, and the head-nun of the old-people's home was very happy with their new solar water heater.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sani clinic, Zanskar, Ladakh

It was still relatively quiet in Ladakh when the AuroRE team headed up there this year for the installation of a 1,050 Wp solar PV system at a remote clinic in Zanskar valley in the second week of June.

Rishi, Hemant and Jos all met up in Delhi where a jeep was loaded with the solar panels, sealed maintenance-free batteries, the aluminium mounting structure and boxes with accessory cables, charge controller, inverter, etc.

This was the 6th consecutive year that Aurore was doing an installation in Ladakh, one of the most remote regions of India, high up in the Himalayas.

The 5 day journey in the jeep took us from Delhi via Manali, Leh and Kargil to our end-destination, Sani, 10 km from Padum, Zanskar valley's main town.

There Dr Rainer Lezius (Germany) has initiated a project to preserve traditional Ladakhi herbal medicine by building a small clinic-cum-community centre.

Raising funds through Fördervereins Sani Zanskar e.V. made it possible to build the small building, which was completed last year.
What was missing though was a reliable source of electrical power for lighting the rooms, as well as provide power for laptop computers and other small electrical devices.

Rainer contacted Aurore and a suitable solar PV system was designed and prepared in Auroville before being shipped to Sani village.

Nadeem, our 'local' electrician had already done the ground work in the previous days by fitting all the internal house-wiring in the building. This made it possible for us the complete to entire installation in a record 1.5 days and we commissioned the system on June 12th.

One of the monks of the local Sani monastery came to have a look and gave the solar panels his blessing! :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Solar power packs - Orissa tribal settlements

Our partners, Gram Vikas, a reputed NGO in Orissa, are dedicated to bringing clean water and power to the grassroots. Gira is a tribal settlement near Gajapati in Orissa, where drinking water needs were, until recently, being met physically with each household having to fetch up to 40 lts. of water (and not very clean) everyday over a long distance, from a stream a few kilometres away.

Today this scenario no longer exists in Gira. It has been replaced with a solar water pumping and lighting system. Gram Vikas echoes the thoughts of the villagers of Gira when declaring that this has brought ease along with dignity into the lives of these poor tribals.

A fortunate spin-off from this is the fact of kerosene being replaced as primary household lighting in these parts. They realise that it is a plus for their health and savings.
Gram Vikas asserts the very real benefits of solar powered systems for lighting and water pumping in remote parts of Orissa (a template for the rest of India!), where clean water is scarce and electricity even more so. An intermediary like solar power can best fill this gap adding immeasurably to the quality of rural life.
Aurore supplied the system to Gram Vikas in June of this year. It’s installed capacity is 1350 W (18 panels of 75W each). The pump is a Grundfos SQF 3A-10 with a flow rate of 3000ltr/Hr.

The panels power the pump directly during the day while a battery bank provides power for home lighting at night. Aurore trained a small group of villagers on basic system care. We are still consulted for major interventions if required and our staff pays periodic visits to our rural projects to provide enhanced system maintenance tips and training to end users.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Zanskar 2007

Rishi and Jos went up to Zanskar, Ladakh in July 2007 to install a 450 Wp hybrid solar-diesel installation at the Lamdon Model High School in Ufti, near Padum, the main settlement in the remote Zanskar valley.

The drive alone, in a taxi from Delhi, took 5 long days: Delhi-Manali, Manali-Pang, Pang-Leh, Leh-Kargil and finally Kargil-Padum. All materials (solar panels, batteries, inverters and accessories were carried in the same taxi to the installation site.

All went well, and the school can now run its computers and printer on solar energy, as well as the lights (and a TV) in the teacher's quarters next to the school. Only in case of cloudy days and excessive usage will the diesel generator have to be switched on.

This is saving the school lots of fuel as well as cuts the noise pollution substantially.

Here are some pictures:

The Drang Drung glacier, at the "gateway" to Zanskar

View from the roof of Lamdon Model High School, Ufti, Zanskar

Rishi in action on the 450 Wp solar array

and Jos working on the inverters in the "control" room

The locals seem unimpressed... :-)

The system was funded by Aide au Zanskar (AaZ), from France.

New projects seem to be already in the pipeline for next year, so hopefully we'll be back in Zanskar in 2008!