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Solar Powered Schools
Jamais Cascio, 9 Sep 04

The BBC reports that the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, via the Uttar Pradesh Education for All Project, will be supplying solar power systems for rural village schools in order to run computer systems.

A further 1,000 computers are to be purchased this year for village schools, but most of these will not work because there is no power available.

"In the present situation of power supply we are not sure that electricity will be available in rural schools for computers," said GB Patnaik from the Alternative Energy Department.

"To overcome this, we have drawn a scheme to arrange solar energy for these computers."

Solar power is already in use in Uttar Pradesh for a variety of purposes.

As authorities in the education and alternative energy departments try to arrange funds, some farmers who have solar pumps for irrigation are making efforts to use this natural and clean energy source for other purposes.

So far, solar energy has been used for cooking, heating water, light and running tube wells.

[...]

Government regulations say solar pumps should be used for irrigation purposes only. But other farmers and youths are inventing all kinds of new uses of solar energy, generating employment and additional income.

One Umari villager in the Barabanki district is charging batteries to run TVs in rural areas, which gives him an extra income of $3.50 (£2) a day.

Farmer Sharmail Singh has dug a pond near his solar pump in his farmhouse, which is used for fisheries and drinking water for buffalos. Solar pumps provide light in the night via a battery.

India, like China, appears to be embracing solar quite enthusiastically. It will be interesting to see if India shifts from becoming a solar power consumer to becoming a solar power innovator.

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