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.

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.