Scientists have fabricated solar panels that could withstand harsh environmental conditions that prevail in upper reaches of Himalayas. These panels have been deployed in the Zanskar valley area to meet energy needs of people living there.
The panels have been designed to provide either warm water or help heat up the people’s homes. They work on the simple principle of solar energy absorption by black coated galvanised iron sheet and aluminum alloy pipe coil through a normal window glass to heat the water or the air. Each panel can heat 100 to 120 litres of water per day. The space heating panels can heat up the air and blow it into living spaces at temperatures of up to 65-70 degrees Celsius.
A total of 158 panels have been transported from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh traversing eight mountain passes including Tanglangla – the second highest pass in the world at an altitude of 17, 582 feet.
The project has been implemented by the Shimla-based Himalayan Research Group of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Highland Agricultural Research and Extension Station at Padum, under the Technology Intervention for Mountain Ecosystem: Livelihood Enhancement through Action Research and Networking (TEAM-LEARN) programme.
At present, residents of the area use the dung from their livestock as the source of heat. Women had to spend nearly three to four hours every day. With the induction of the solar technology, this drudgery would be saved. In addition, it would mitigate the pollution problems caused by burning of dung indoors and help improve the productivity of their farms as the dung would be available as manure.(India Science Wire)