Ramakrishna Mission Initiative Impact Study: Final Report

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


This report has been prepared by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It presents the results of the evaluation and impact assessment of solar photovoltaic lighting systems in the region of Sunderbans, West Bengal, that were deployed by a reputable non-governmental organization (Ramakrishna Mission) under the auspices of the INDO-US collaborativeproject. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the solar photovoltaic systems for their impact on the individual households as well as on the community, to assess the effectiveness of the implementation and financial mechanisms, and to draw a long-term strategy for NREL's activities in Sunderbans based on case studies of similar interventions. Under the project, provision was made tosupply 300 domestic lighting systems (DLS) based on 53-Wp module capacity to individual households and a few other systems such as for lighting, medical refrigeration, and pumping water to community centres. For this study, 152 households were surveyed, of which 29 had also been a part of earlier pre- and post-installation surveys, 47 had been a part of the earlier post-installation survey, and76 were new households that were surveyed for the first time. A set of 46, out of the total 152 households, was selected for evaluating the systems for their technical performance with respect to module output, condition of the battery, and daily energy consumption. Of the total 300 modules, 2 had been stolen, 9 out of the total 300 batteries needed to be replaced, and 10 out of the 300 chargecontrollers were non-functional. The statistics for the surveyed households indicate 32 luminaire-related faults (blackening or flickering of compact fluorescent lights) and 11 other faults related to fuses, switches, etc. The households have found the DLS useful in several ways: the light makes it possible for children to study even after daylight hours, it deters thieves, and the family canwatch TV. There is a demand for additional light points or a higher capacity system by 73% of the surveyed households. Due to the increase in family size, 56% of households want to purchase additional systems. One of the most significant advantages of DLS, as reported by 93% of households, is security against thefts. Consumption of kerosene, which was the only source of lighting in thehouseholds prior to DLS, has been reduced by 7 litres per month on an average. Because the households are now able to meet 50% or more of their demand from the kerosene bought from the Public Distribution System at Rs 3.50 a litre, there is a substantial saving in monetary terms as well (from Rs 72.3 to 32.64 per month on average in one of the villages). Most of the batteries were found to be ingood physical condition with respect to casing, battery terminals, and battery boxes. The average daily ampere-hrs received by the batteries is in the range 10-15, whereas the consumption is about 10 ampere-hrs daily. Illumination was inadequate for reading in a few households. Each DLS customer was expected to pay about 50% of the total cost of the system through a financing scheme (Rs 3500 asa down-payment and Rs 3600 to be paid in 60 equal monthly installments). Payment collection has been 88% to date.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages84
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi, India

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-520-28601


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