Project Proposal

free Spirits

free Spirits
131, Site-2, Vikas Puri, New Delhi - 18
We are a group of budding engineers who have graduated from Delhi
College of Engineering. We aim to lighten each and every rustic home
with light. We have a vision to make the rural India go SOLAR, with the
ever increasing demand in power by the cities and the villages being

We aim to provide solar charging stations, water pumping plants and
food preservation and cooling systems in villages which are unable to
access the conventional source of electricity and possess no such
facilities. Also, small products like solar home lighting systems, portable
mobile phone chargers and solar street lights are part of this initiative.
‘free Spirits’ is an initiative to a greener world. Powering homes is not the
only motive, but empowering people with skills and knowledge to
operate integrates our vision. This will ensure the use of products
efficiently and will ensure employment opportunities. The products and
the journey so far corroborate the aim to innovate products that will save
money and preserve the conventional sources of energy.

2 | P a g e

1. Introduction

The use of direct solar energy in India has evolved for more than three thousand years.
Most prominent of these are the drying of foods for preservation and assured availability
during non-crop periods of the year, the drying of garments/clothes, and therapeutic
protocols for human and animal health. This direct use of solar energy continues while
modern technologies have made the rural life dramatically different. The main sources of
energy for rural communities of India are electricity, gas, and petroleum. With increasing
population, henceforth, increasing need of energy, the present sources are unable to
satisfy this rise in demand. In addition to this, burning of wood, charcoal, and other
materials have negative environmental consequences. For these reasons a paradigm shift
is needed and that calls for extensive use of non conventional sources of energy (solar,
wind, biomass etc). India is a developing country, and its economy is largely dependent
on agriculture. But, in this era of modernization rural India has been completely
neglected. Therefore, targeting the agriculture sector of India for the innovative use of
solar power will directly contribute to the economy and development of the nation. The
intelligent and innovative uses of solar energy will render cost effective, reliable, and
environmentally friendly solutions for rural India.

2. The Technological Challenges

The main challenge we see for the solar power utilization in rural India is to maintain the
values and culture of the farm communities while providing solar based technology to
exponentially enhance the quality of life of the inhabitants. This requires a deliberate
understanding of the needs of rural inhabitants and innovative approach for
implementing and integrating solar power in their life style.

Cost is a major concern for rural India. Rural inhabitants tend to be very cost
conscientious and most often do not have the monetary resources needed for high-tech
solutions. They tend to do mental trade-offs on a daily basis to economize and use their
resources most effectively. Borrowing is not a welcome practice in these communities. In
view of this, any solar technological solutions have to be cost-effective.

3 | P a g e

The challenge is to develop devices and appliances for rural applications that can stand
rough use by persons not technologically savvy. For this reason, technologies have to be
rugged, reliable, and easy to use and repair. The ease of maintenance is essential for
successful technology intervention. Furthermore, costs associated with repair and
maintenance should be minimal. Weather changes have dramatic effect on the amount
of solar energy that can be harvested. For this reason, technological approaches should
work in cloudy, rainy, and winter weather because the farm work continues in all

3. Journey So Far

 Solar Power Initiative for Rural India Team (SPIRIT) Pilot Project
in Bhajju (Shamli district), and Kamheda Tughlakpur
(Muzzafarnagar district) Villages, Uttar Pradesh, India
A team of students from Delhi Technological University (DTU) and ‘free Spirits’ worked
together under the guidance of DTU Honorary Professor, Dr. Kumar Krishen; who is
dedicated to the welfare of the people living in rural areas, to provide small solar
powered setups for ten families free of cost. The hardware requirements for this project
worth Rs. 30,000 are funded by Prof. Krishen through the Krishen Foundation
( The installation work was completed on August
11, 2013. After a few days, a feedback was taken by the families and the necessary
modifications needed in the systems were done. The up gradation cost of the systems
was Rs. 15,000 and was funded by free Spirits. The purpose of providing the free setups
to the families was to get feedback from them and check their feasibility in the villages.

4 | P a g e

 Project Rashmi
A small village in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh electricity is like a distant dream for the
inhabitants. We inquired about the problems faced by the villagers on a daily basis. On
interviewing some of them, one of the problems was considered and then concluded
that they pay Rs. 5 every alternate day to charge their mobile phones. At times they
wait for hours for their turn. The monthly cost of charging their mobile phones
approximates around Rs. 100 – 120. To address this problem, we came up with Project
RASHMI, which aims to provide solar mobile phone chargers to the villagers. The
advantage being the phone is charged during the day without paying any rent to the
owner of the station and also the long queues would be rejected. Every villager would
have their personal charging station with them. The monthly expenditure would drop to
Rs. 19 for mobile phone charging.

 Electrification of a charitable school, Dodaballapura, Bangalore
A small chartable school working hard to aware the rural families about the importance
of education has more than 200 students from around 60 villages now. We met with the
principle to discuss about the development of this area and he has agreed to help us in
that. We have installed a small solar powered light setup in that school that can be used
to power 3 - 4 LED lights during the night time. Also, we’ve distributed some solar
powered mobile phone chargers in the villages for free. This will give them a practical
experience over these devices. We are talking to various organizations for further
development work.

5 | P a g e

 Working with TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) to help
provide electricity in villages in Maharashtra
We have talked to the TISS (TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur, Maharashtra)
about the initiative and also gave them a brief description about the different products
that we have developed. They have asked us to participate in their annual fest, where in
all the authorities already working on rural development will be participating and also all
the villagers will be attending the fest. The idea is to showcase the application (giving a
demo) to the villagers in the fest. After this demo, we will be surveying one of the village
to get information about the needs of the villagers and the kind of application required
for that village.

 Initiating a project ‘Solar Power Well and Cooler’ in Delhi
Technological University, Delhi
We’ve proposed to work on two major applications of solar energy that can be
implemented in rural areas of India. Seeing current scenario of electricity in rural areas
this would be solve major problems of rural population. As using a natural resource is
always a better way than using than relying on Government for electricity which is quite
fluctuating. The solar power well is similar to a solar energy plant except that is will be
used to charge the batteries that farmers use in their homes. So this application works on
small scale but caters the need of major percentage of population. The resource Sun is
easily available so this saves the larger percentage of farmers income.
The solar power cooler is a concept where the farmers can use small cabins to store their
crops, fruits and vegetable at appropriate conditions. This will help reduce the wastage of
eatables and a better quality of crops for longer time.

6 | P a g e

4. Our proposal
After analyzing the technological challenges described in the previous sections, we have come
up with following solutions that can be implemented in rural areas. All the mentioned solutions
are capable to bring a positive change in the life of people who are unable to make use of
electricity due to its unavailability.

(a) Solar Powered Rural Homes / Hut
The technologies to be used in home/hut include lights, fans, phones etc. Solar powered rural
homes or huts would make the inhabitants independent of the power provided by the state.
Solar powered huts aim at providing the basic lighting to people who have been devoid of this
invention for years.

The solar panel via controller charges the battery. During the day the appliances run directly on
solar power, simultaneously the battery captures the solar energy to be utilized later.
Depending upon the utility of various houses and the affordability of the people, we have six
different models that can be provided. Also all the appliances to be used with the solar
powered system are provided in the models:

Model 1 (battery backup of 5-7 hours)

 Solar Panel (30 watts)
 Battery (12 V, 20 Ah)
 1 LED light (9 watts)
 1 DC table fan (12 watts)
 Solar charge controller
Model 2 (backup of 5-7 hours)

 Solar Panel (40 watts)
 Battery (12 V, 40 Ah) (3 yr warranty)
 2 LED lights (9 watts)
 1 DC table fan (18 watts)
 1 DC mobile charging device
 1 chargeable torch (3 watts, backup >
15 hours)
 Solar charge controller
Model 3 (backup of 8-10 hours)

 Solar Panel (75 watts)
 Battery (12 V, 60 Ah)
 2 LED lights (9 watts)
Model 4 (backup of 5-7 hours)

 Solar Panel (90 watts)
 Battery (12 V, 75 Ah) (3 yr warranty)
 3 LED lights (9 watts)

7 | P a g e

 1 DC table fan (18 watts)
 1 DC mobile charging device
 Solar lantern (4 watts, backup > 4 hours)
 1 chargeable torch (3 watts, backup > 15
 Solar charge controller
 2 DC table fan (18 watts)
 1 DC mobile charging device
 Solar lantern (7 watts, backup > 7
 1 chargeable torch (3 watts, backup >
15 hours)
 Solar charge controller
Model 5 (backup of 8-10 hours)

 Solar Panel (150 watts)
 Battery (12 V, 100 Ah) (5 yr warranty)
 3 LED lights (9 watts)
 2 DC table fan (18 watts)
 1 portable DC mobile charging device
 Solar lantern (7 watts, backup > 7 hours)
 1 chargeable torch (3 watts, backup > 15
 1 DC table lamp (8 watts, backup > 3
 Solar charge controller
Model 6 (backup of (4-5 hours)

This is the basic model which can be
provided to a family. It can be used to
light up one LED light of 9 watts (or 2 LED
lights of (4 watts) for four to five hours

 Solar Panel (10 watts)
 Battery (12V, 7 Ah)
 LED light (9 watts)
 Solar charge controller

As it is a part of our initiative, we do not charge anything for installation of these setups and the
mounting structure of solar panels. Also, a free detailed workshop would be taken so as to
make the users aware of functioning of the system.

(b) Solar lighted Streets / Corners / Farm ways
Solar lights are used all over the globe. The system use solar energy during the daytime to
charge the battery, then with the help of a controlling device, these lights work from dusk to
dawn automatically. India being a tropical nation can utilize this free energy in lighting the
streets in the villages. Having street lights in rural areas is helpful in a number of ways:
 Making nightlife better in case of transportation, medical emergencies etc.
 Increase in security of areas which are affected by a number of ill objects.

Mounting and pole structures would be installed depending upon the availability of already
available infrastructure in the respective area.

8 | P a g e

(c) Solar Mobile Charging device
Solar energy can be easily used to charge a mobile phone battery during daytime. A portable,
rugged and efficient system allows proper charging and stands rough use by the people not
technologically savvy. This device not only charges mobile phone batteries, but is also used to
charge batteries of other small appliances like torch, lantern etc and can be used to run small
DC fans. This device comes with a solar panel and DC charger for efficient and fast charging.

The payback period of all the systems described above is 3 – 7 years. These systems will not
only be able to provide facilities to the people living in rural areas but also helps in reduction in
carbon footprint by a very large amount. The replacement of diesel/kerosene, wood and coal
by solar energy for production of electricity will have a positive impact on the environment.

5. Other Important Plans
The applications of solar power should include direct utilization of light, direct utilization of
heat, and transfer of solar energy into electric power. We suggest the following possible needs
based on the observations and experience in rural communities of India

(a) Solar Charging Stations
(b) Solar Powered Centralized Food Preservation Facility
(c) Solar Powered Irrigation System
(d) Solar Powered Vehicles
(e) Solar Powered Waste Management

9 | P a g e

6. The Road Ahead
 Extension of Solar Power Initiative for Rural India Team (SPIRIT)
Pilot Project in Bhajju (Shamli district), and Kamheda
Tughlakpur (Muzzafarnagar district) Villages, Uttar Pradesh,
With successful completion of Pilot project in two villages of Uttar Pradesh, we got the
desired feedbacks from the villagers about the use of solar powered systems. Also, the
ten families are happy to see their homes lightened. After modifying all the systems as
per the feedback, we are ready to launch ‘Extension of Pilot Project’ in September 2013.
This time we plan to upgrade the ten systems installed and also provide six more solar
powered setups to poor families free of cost. The aim to upgrade the previous systems
and providing six more setups free of cost is again to get a feedback from the people
about its feasibility and any more modification if needed.

 Rural Electrification of a village in Rajasthan in collaboration
with Arya Tara Mahila Trust, Pune

Our initiative to lighten up the lives of the people living in rural areas has has found a match
with the members of Arya Tara Mahila Trust, Pune. Two of our representatives will be surveying
one of the villages in Rajasthan with them to know about the requirements of the people and all
the best suitable and possible applications of solar energy for that area. As of now we have
already planned for around 20 street lights to be installed in the village.

10 | P a g e




free Spirits

131, Site – 2, Vikas Puri
New Delhi – 110018

f r e e d o m t o i n n o v a t e