Solar Energy

Solar lanterns lighting hawker shops in Haryana, UP

Raj Kumar Sharma
New Delhi, Nov 11 (PTI) The signature kerosene and petromax lamps dotting hawker shops in parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are gradually being replaced with solar powered lighting devices being brought in by environment-friendly initiatives of an energy conscious organistaion.

Around 300 hawkers in Faridabad, Palwal and Agra have in the past few years switched to solar lamps provided by ”Urja Unlimited” which is not only good for their health and environment but also saves a lot of money for them.

“Hawkers inhale a lot of fumes using kerosene and petromax lamps. They do not know the impact on their health.
Solar lanterns are a solution to it and its just one time investment which is pocket-friendly as well,” says Puneet Ahuja, founder of ”Urja Unlimited”, a solar energy solutions manufacturer.

Depending upon the model, the solar lanterns cost between Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,800. LED tubelights are also available are Rs 800. Solar lanterns are made available in 3 LED lantern finish fitted with a 3 watt solar panel. The specifications can be modified to suit demands by customers depending upon their needs.

The solar lanterns that come with a battery and charge-controller housed in a cabinet at the base of the lantern are easy to carry and can also be hung on a ceiling.

“Logically, the cost of the lantern is equal to the amount spent by a hawker on the fuel of kerosene lamps in a year. There is no more spending after this initial investment and a solar lantern can easily serve the users for almost 5 to 7 years,” says Ahuja.

“Since some hawkers were not able to afford the cost of the lanterns, we offer the option of buying it in installments,” he said.

“We had some doubts that some people might run away with the lanterns, but its benefits have been many and that has turned hawkers into our loyal customers,” says Ahuja.

Ashok Kumar, a street vendor says,” My savings have gone up after I switched on to the solar lanterns. I use that money to fund my only daughter”s tuition fee now.”
Since many hawkers do not have access to Public Distribution System, they were buying kerosene in black which sometimes was double the market price.

Urja says it intends to bring down the cost of the solar lanterns by entering into partnerships with micro finance institutions, corporates and other philanthropic organizations.

“We plan to make it a pan-India initiative and are in talks with various NGOs who have shown interest in our energy solutions. We want to take our efforts to new cities now,” says Ahuja.

Urja Unlimited has successfully installed solar powered street lights in a leading college in Faridabad. The organisation is on its way to install new lights at three more colleges.

The organisation not only manufactures but also installs and provides servicing for its other solar energy solutions like table lamp, down LED light and solar torches.
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