FIELD VISITS 

Visit to NBIRT (Aug 2019)

Introduction about the MSD Project by Zinia Mam and Shamik Sir.

• Discussions on various Case Studies(Odisha and West Bengal) where MSDs have already been installed.

• Brief interaction with Prof. SP Gon Chaudhuri regarding the smooth implementation of the project as well as installation of MSDs in various selected states.

• Introducing various sections or parts of the solar dome followed by technical session regarding the working of the solar dome by Tanmay Sir.

• Mechanical, Electrical and Illumination testing.

• Installation demo of the solar dome.

• Brain storming session, comparing MSD with other solar products and projects which can be a challenge to our product.

Visit to Kasijora village (Sept 2019)

Kasijori is a village in the district of Paschim Medinipur of West Bengal state. Location- 22.28’N Lat. And 87.33’E Long. Area- Kharagpur Place – Community Place SELECTION OF STRUCTURE FOR MSD INSTALLATION

• Selected one school naming, ‘Vidyadharpur Sishu Sikhya Kendra’, which is run for the SC/ST children under the state government SC/ST fund.

• Provides education up to class IV both for boys and girls.

• 53 students, 2 teachers and 6 rooms.

• Specifications of the rooms: Semi Pucca rooms with cement and tin sheets. The roofs are having inclined structure. The rooms are facing south ward direction. Approximate area of the rooms are 120 metre square.

• Proposed number of domes to be installed: 10 Domes. 2 for the kitchen, 2 for the community hall and 3 for one classroom which is relatively a larger one and 2 for another classroom.

• Activities at Night- Community Hall is used daily for different local activities related to meetings, programs, get-together, etc. Classrooms are used at night for private tuitions conducted by IIT students and NSS Unit 7 IIT which is free of cost to benefit the socially deprived students.

​​Visit to Jhilimili Village ( February 2021)

We went for a visit to Jhilimili village of Bankura on 13th February 2021. Main
purpose of the visit was to interact with beneficiaries along with other
stakeholders. The operating NGO, Pradhan, arranged a welcome ceremony and
Micro Solar Dome (MSD) distribution programme to the beneficiaries. We visited
some houses of the beneficiaries and had short conversations with them to know
about their MSD use and it’s impact on their economic activities and about their
savings due to reduction in the electricity bill. We also asked them about the
problems they are facing, if any, and about their expectations from this device.

MSD Use
During the interaction, we found that the MSD is giving lights for 4-5 hours in the
evening and night time. According to them, the MSD has helped them by
providing appropriate illumination, so that their children can easily study during
the night.
Impact of MSD on Economic Activities:
The MSD has provided them the extra working time in the evening and helped
them to increase their economic standard. They are using this time for economic
activities like plate making; from which they are earning an extra 20-30 rupees
per day.

Saving in Electricity bill:
The beneficiaries report a decrease in the electricity bill but were not able to give
us an amount they save on the same.


Complaint regarding MSD:
Beneficiaries are very much satisfied with the performance of the MSD. They are
willing to take more number of MSD, if provided to them.


Further requirement of MSD:
The beneficiaries have shown some interest in portable solar devices and if
some small accessories such as exhaust fan could be attached to the MSD.
Women Participation:
We have seen a good participation of the women in this project. All of them are
associated with a self-help group, which work as an MFI and can be used to fulfil
their further MSD requirement.

Suggestions given to NGO:
We also had discussions with PRADHAN and suggested them to install some (2-
3) MSD in any community places. This will give us a clear idea about how the
MSD is able to benefit the society in different ways. We also will be able to know
whether the MSD placed at community places can be used for economic
activities or education.

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Visit to Thirunelly, Kerala ( February 2021) 

A field visit to Thirunelly was done on 26th February 2021. Following are some of the key findings:

  • MSD usage during day time is very effective, as the illumination level inside the home is generally dark.

  • Reduction in electricity bills observed in the households maintaining the MSD effectively.

  • Usage of kerosene lamps has been completely stopped.

  • Increased usage in the nighttime for household activities and study purposes. (4-5hrs)

  • Safety for children (open sockets in the house is a threat to children safety)

  • People's willingness to adopt clean energy has increased.

  • Demand for MSD has been increased in the tribal villages.

  • MSD is very effective during the power outage (power outages lasts for weeks in villages)

  • Village panchayat is very keen to implement clean energy sources in their village.

The MSD installation is currently installed in Thirunelly panchayat, Manathawady, Wayanad, Kerala. There are 27 blocks in the village managed by the Schedule Tribal promoters of the village panchayat. The beneficiaries are selected in each block of the panchayat based on their income and economic status.

Beneficiary selection is done strategically, only 5-7 beneficiaries are selected in each block such that benefits of the MSD usage can be observed by the other households. This has created the demand for MSD by other households and has increased the willingness to pay.

The installation of the MSD by NGOs is very effective and leakage problems are not observed in any of the households. Most of the installations are done in the living area and kitchen. The main usage is for lighting purposes during the daytime. The MSD works 4-5hrs during the nighttime.

There is program “Kudumbashree” an women empowerment program that provides funds, bank loans for economic and agriculture activities only for women.

Most of the beneficiaries are daily wage laborers and children in their homes use it for educational purposes during the day and night.

Interesting Stories:

The household without electricity used MSD for their basic needs, one of the people expired due to his old age in the home. MSD helped them to complete their last rites throughout the nighttime. The family contacted the NGO and felt very thankful for installing MSD in their home.

The households having two children were very much worried about the open sockets in the home which were used for mobile charging. They are using MSD for mobile charging and removed the sockets from their living area.

The usage of MSD has reduced the usage of kerosene for lighting purposes. As they use kerosene oil for cooking stoves the exact savings of kerosene cannot be calculated.

The electric CFL bulbs were removed in the many homes where the MSD has been installed. Thus, a reduction in electricity usage has been observed.

In one of the tribal colonies, other households surrounded the NGO and team and demanded their names to be included for MSD installation.

Inauguration program for MSD installation:

The inauguration program was held on 26.02.2021 in one of the tribal houses in the village by the panchayat board members. They expressed their interest and savings from clean energy and praised MSD for its benefits. They were very thankful to IIT KGP and NGO Mitraniketan for selecting their village for MSD installation. The program was video graphed and sent for media coverage. The modified MSD products were showcased to NGOs and panchayat and they have requested a live demo of the products.

Visit to North Bengal ( February 2021 )

For the successful implementation of Micro Solar Dome, IIT Kharagpur and NBIRT Kolkata have selected Vivekananda Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) NGO for who has expertise in conducting field level awareness, training, and MSD installation related activities.

We have visited to Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar district in the state of West Bengal from 26th Feb 2021 to 28th Feb 2021. We are visiting Jalpaiguri with the help of field trainers who are assisting us to locate the beneficiary’s villages. We are interacting with various family members and experiencing the environment. Micro Solar Domes have been installed in these villages from March 2020 to June 2020.

Field notes from the villages in Jalpaiguri District

 

Uttar Dhopjhora: Uttar Dhupjhora is a large village located in Matiali Block of Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal with a total of 981 families residing. The Uttar Dhupjhora village has a population of 4342 of which 2196 are males while 2146 are females as per Population Census 2011. In this village, most of the villagers are from Schedule Caste (SC) & Schedule Tribe (ST). Schedule Caste (SC) constitutes 31.16 % while Schedule Tribe (ST) was 27.02 % of the total population (2011 census) in Uttar Dhupjhora village. This village is situated on the bank of the Murti river and the village surrounding the Upper Tendu Forest. We found that all the household houses are semi-pucca or a mixture of Tin and wooden. Some household walls and roofs are made of tin. In the village, the primary occupation of the villagers is agriculture activity which was done by male people, and women are involved in household work. All the beneficiaries got the MSDs only giving R.S 500/- to 600/- as installation cost. The maximum of the families installs their MSD on Veranda.

In this village, families are using the MSD for emergency purposes when load shedding happens. Use of MSD in many ways like a family gathering, agriculture activities, guiding children, etc..

Most of the family’s children are studying using the MSD light. They use it for protection from wild animals at night because this village is situated beside the Upper Tendu forest.

In this village, women are participating in the Self Help Group which is a group of 8 to 10 women. There is a bank namely Uttar Bangiya Kshetriya Gramin Bank that provides loans to people with affordable fair interest rates. The people use these resources to run their family business and daughter marriage etc.

Paschim Batabari: Paschim Batabari village is located in Matiali Tehsil of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, India. It is situated 6.8km away from sub-district headquarter Chalsa and 49.7km away from district headquarter Jalpaiguri. As per 2009 stats, Matiali Batabari is the gram panchayat of Paschim Batabari village. The total geographical area of the village is 132.27 hectares. Paschim Batabari has a total population of 297 people. Malbazar is the nearest town to Paschim Batabari which is approximately 18km away. In Paschim Batabari village, most of the village population is from Schedule Tribe (ST). Scheduled Tribe (ST) constitutes 41.08 % while Schedule Caste (SC) was 7.07 % of the total population in Paschim Batabari village.

Chalsa Mahabari: Chalsa Mahabari village is located in Matiali Tehsil of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, India. Matiali is the nearest town to Chalsa Mahabari village. In this village, a total number of 111 MSD had been provided by VIB to beneficiaries. In this project, the NGO selected 95 households as Tribal Community and the rest are Schedule caste.

In this village, we found that maximum families had their MSD on the Veranda side. According to villagers, the village is surrounded by the forest. So they use MSD light at night for fear of protection from wild animals (mainly elephants). One beneficiary, Gopal Nwear, uses the MSD for teaching purposes. Some beneficiaries also use the MSDs in their cooking place for cooking and consummation of the food.

Salbani: Salbari village is located in Matiali Tehsil of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, India. It is situated 10.1km away from sub-district headquarter Chalsa and 44.9km away from district headquarter Jalpaiguri. As per 2009 stats, Bidhannagar is the gram panchayat of Salbari village. The total geographical area of the village is 830.3 hectares. Salbari has a total population of 9,115 people. There are about 1,580 houses in Salbari village. Malbazar is the nearest town to Salbari which is approximately 14km away. In Salbari village, most of the village population is from Schedule Tribe (ST). Scheduled Tribe (ST) constitutes 69.25 % while Schedule Caste (SC) was 21.14 % of the total population in Salbari village.

Maximum households have grid connectivity apart from that we found some households did not connect to grid electricity supply because they were not able to afford this. We visited Mini Mahji, a 70 years old woman’s house and her house is not connected to grid electricity. According to her, she uses a Micro solar dome home light system for a daily basis like domestic chores, making foods, family gatherings,  and care of domestic animals(Goat, hen, etc.). Her family installed the MSD in the veranda for multiple benefits from it. In her viewpoint of installation of MSD on the veranda, they do all kinds of activities like domestic chores as well agriculture activity. She does agriculture activities like cleanliness and processing the agricultural seeds, paddy, potato, vegetables and etc.

In this village, we found that the occupation of the head of the family member is Toto driver as well as agriculture. The maximum family household is bound to pay high electricity bills from  4000- 5000/- rupees within three months because they used to charge their Toto motors batteries at the time pre-installation period. After the introduction of the MSD home light system to the beneficiaries, the electricity bill decreases the amount of 600-700/- rupees within three months. We found that there is no drastic change in the electricity bill but it gives some moments of relaxation in a long-term phenomenon.

We found that families of these households liking and needing the MSD's increase the battery capacity from 4 to 6 hours daily. A beneficiary Mr. Gurudas Barman, 43 years, says that he wants more than 4 to 5 MSDs for his house. He believed that it would decrease dependency on grid connectivity with the use of zero cost of renewable energy sources. But he pointed out that the current MSD light is totally exhausted after 2 hours of use. He said that if we increase the battery’s capacity to 4 to 5 hours daily it could be beneficial for the people. 

In this village use of kerosine is decreased after the installation of MSD before that per household consumption of kerosine was more than 70.00/-RS * 5 to 6 liters per month. In other words, after installing MSD light, it would benefit the household in various aspects: economic, social and environmental. It would decrease their kerosine consumption, carbon dioxide emission and improve indoor air quality.

Pachagarh, Cooch Behar: Pachagar village is located in Mathabhanga - I Tehsil of Koch Bihar district in West Bengal, India. It is situated 2km away from sub-district headquarter Mathabhanga and 39.4km away from district headquarter Cooch Behar. As per 2009 stats, Pachagarh is the gram panchayat of Pachagar village. The total geographical area of the village is 572 hectares. Pachagar has a total population of 5,800 people (2011 census). There are about 1,332 houses in Pachagar village. As per 2019 stats, Pachagar villages come under Mathabhanga assembly & Coochbehar parliamentary constituency. Mathabhanga is the nearest town to Pachagar which is approximately 2km away.

Maximum people of this village practice agriculture (Rice, Tobacco, etc.) as a primary occupation for their day-to-day livelihood. Most of the houses are semi pucca and the roofs are mainly covered by tin. Almost all households have grids connected to electricity so that they use the MSDs as an alternative source of light. 

Tekunia Village, Cooch Behar: Tekonia village is located in Mathabhanga I Tehsil of CoochBihar district in West Bengal, India. It is situated 8.9km away from sub-district headquarter Mathabhanga and 35.9km away from district headquarter Cooch Behar. As per 2009 stats, Pachagarh is the gram panchayat of Tekonia village. The total geographical area of the village is 240.87 hectares. Tekonia has a total population of 981 peoples. There are about 226 houses in Tekonia village. As per 2019 stats, Tekonia villages come under Mathabhanga assembly & Coochbehar parliamentary constituency. Mathabhanga is the nearest town to Tekonia which is approximately 5km away.

In this village, houses are semi- pucca and roofs are covered by tin asbestos and tin. Some households told us at the time of rainy and winter seasons the battery was not fully charged. So that at that time beneficiaries are facing a shortage of light at the emergency.

Uses of MSDs by the beneficiaries

 

Domes installed in the villages are being used for a different purpose by the residents, such as:

 

Lighting the House: Some beneficiaries are using the MSD as the main lighting system because they don't have electricity. Before the installation of MSD, they mainly used kerosene lamps for lighting their home. One beneficiary Basanti Barman stated that she lives with her grandson and her husband and they are using it for one year and they used it as a primary source of light but after a couple of months the battery life is going down and they started using kerosene lamps with MSD. 

 

Cooking: Some beneficiaries are using it as a light bulb both day and night during the time of preparing and consuming their food. Lalit Tigga, one of the beneficiaries, stated that “This is the source of light for me at the time of cooking and eating during day and night time”. 

Animal Rearing: Some beneficiaries are using it for animal rearing with their other domestic uses. Mini Majhi, a 70 years old lady is using the MSD for animal rearing like hen, goat, etc. 

Studying: Children in the families get the light after sunset for their study or doing homework. One of the respondents, Shiteswar Barman stated that his two daughters were reading under this light when they faced the power cut. 

Economic Activities: Many beneficiaries are using this light for their economic activities. Like some people are using this light at night for cutting the bamboo for making the chair. One beneficiary, Monica Rai, who lives in a semi-dark house, stated that she uses this light at day and night time for dry food packaging.  

Protection from wild animals: In the Jalpaiguri district all villages are surrounded by the forest where the MSDs have been installed. So that many people used it in the nighttime when they faced power cuts for protecting themselves from wild animals, mainly elephants. So they don't use it on a daily basis.