LED-based study lights for students and room lights for schools/community centres can serve as a wonderful solution to the issue of kerosene lanterns. Thanks to the white LED revolution, it is now possible to provide a simple light which is suitable for reading purposes that consumes less than a quarter watt of energy but provides 10 to 50 times more useable light than a wick oil lamp.
LED lights give long hours of light using simple reliable and re-chargeable NiMh batteries. Phasing out usage of kerosene by providing such cost effective, eco-friendly and efficient lighting solutions will also help us greatly reduce our carbon footprint.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Breakthroughs in white LED technology mean that these lights are now manufactured in various parts in India and are also low cost and highly reliable.
Besides having a longer life, LED lights consume less energy and thus the solar system (solar PV panel, battery, charge controller) required to power these lights is smaller and much cheaper.
Many social enterprises have made good use of the technology and are manufacturing low cost, long-life, highly reliable solar LED lights that are now available in many rural markets.
Lakhs of solar lights are being sold in rural markets every month and this number is only going to increase as the market penetrates deeper into the unelectrified villages of the country.
These lights cost anywhere between 10 to 30 USD, far less than what rural families pay for kerosene in one year. Having an average warranty period of 1 year, these lights run for up to eight hours when fully charged, which is more than sufficient to fulfill a poor rural household's lighting requirement.
Different Types of LED
- Room lights, hanging types
- Task lights, portable
- Desk lamps, mostly for studying purposes
Most of these have an option to charge the battery with the electric supply, if available and some of them also come with a mobile charging facility.
Sources and links:
Some of the leading solar LED light manufacturers who have, or are planning to enter the Bihar rural market with their products are
Author: Saurabh H. Mehta, RESET India
Currently an ICICI Fellow Designate, working at Aga Khan Development Network(India) - Bihar
If you want to read more about the Lighting Situation in rural India by this Author, go here.