A large part of the economy is built on raw materials and natural resources available in the form of gas, vegetables, oil, trees and fruits. Over the years, our appetite for raw materials has grown and our natural resource consumption has tripled. This has led to an acute shortage of natural resources, and the Earth cannot replenish the same at a faster pace. As per a UN Report, this overconsumption has led to increased pollution and change in climatic conditions, thus affecting the quality of life.
In December 2016, the city of Chennai was in darkness for five days when cyclone Vardah visited them. The whole city was without water and electricity with only one home being unaffected. This home belonged to D Suresh also popularly known as Solar Suresh. He and his wife had enough water and electricity for the five days when the city was in turmoil.
Suresh is an alumnus of IIT-Madras and IIM-Ahmedabad is the MD of a textile company. He usually starts his day with a cup of coffee. Nothing different right! the difference is that he brews the coffee on biogas. Then he reads the newspaper and enjoys his coffee under a fan which is powered by a solar plant. His meals comprise of organic vegetables grown in his own terrace garden.
Where did he get the idea for generating electricity from solar power?
On his trip to Germany, he was impressed by seeing solar plants on the roofs. He gave a thought when a country with less sun can harness electricity from solar energy then why can’t the same be applied in India, especially Chennai, where the sun shines strongly almost throughout the year.
On returning to India, he implemented the same idea by making his home self sufficient. His house is now completely solar powered with units for biogas, water harvesting and kitchen garden.
The solar sector market in India has a huge potential. In 2017, it received investments worth US$ 10 Billion. It is believed that this sector is further going to attract investments as high as US$ 80 billion in the coming years.
Installing a solar panel unit is very simple. All it requires is a shady area of about 80 Sqft per kW on the rooftop. Additional wiring is not required. Solar panels of 3kW power 25 lights, 11 fans, 2 computers, 2 television sets, 1 mixer grinder, 1 refrigerator, 1 washing machine, 1 water pump and 1 inverter AC. Setting the plant takes a day and maintenance requires quarterly cleaning of the panels.
Since the day Suresh installed the solar plant he has not experienced any power cuts. After the success of the solar unit, he also went ahead and installed a biogas plant and a rainwater harvesting unit.
Lesson learned from Suresh:
Solar Suresh believes that the government cannot find all the solutions and thus it becomes important for us to find solutions to help them. He has set an example of the green revolution we desperately need today. Thus we should solve the problems as an opportunity, as a blessing in disguise. We need grass root innovations to solve our problems according to our needs.
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