Idea Exchange Category:
Gananmata Sadan - Introduction
The Gnanmata Sadan is an Educational Trust of the Bombay Province of the Jesuit, which is set up to administer the Talasari Mission. The Trust, in collaboration with various congregations of Sisters and the Diocese of Vasai, runs the following institutions.
- Primary schools (Medium of instruction: Marathi language)
- 4 Secondary schools (Medium of instruction: Marathi language)
- 1 Junior College (Medium of instruction: Marathi language) and
- 2 classes where the medium of instruction is English language
These schools serve the Adivasis1 of the region, in particular the Warli tribe. The Jesuits have been working with them for the last 75 years, assisting in their upliftment through education. The children of the village are also offered education in English, to prepare them for opportunities in a global environment.
Gnanmata Sadan’s challenges
The Gnanmata Sadan schools are faced with daily electricity outages (power cuts) and a continuous problem of fluctuation of voltage from the power grid. These outages take place during peak school hours and last for a minimum 6 hours at a stretch.
This has resulted in the school children not having or having very limited access to computers. Besides, several computers at the schools have been permanently damaged due to severe fluctuation of voltage of grid power.
Electricity from solar panels has been explored as an ideal source of alternative electricity during power outages. The solar electric system also augments and replaces expensive grid power. The stable voltage of the solar electric system also helps avoid permanent damage of computers.
The Solar power project
The project was conceived through a collaborative effort between InSite International AS, Norway, Gnanmata Sadan and the St Stanislaus Ex-Students Association.
The management of the Gnanmata school complex decided that an alternative source of stable electricity was required to contribute to the development of the school. It was decided to execute this effort as a project. The project involved setting up a pilot installation at the Talasari Centre of Gnanmata Sadan which has about 900 students. The scope of the project was to power 8-10 school computers using solar power (photovoltaic cells).
The project was executed entirely by Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Ltd (REIL)2 on behalf of the sponsor InSite International AS. The St Stanislaus Ex-students Association, which also supports the development of the school acted in the capacity of facilitator and project liaison to link InSite International and management of the school..
The project sought to address the following goals provide continuous electricity during peak school hours augment and/or replace expensive grid power reduce permanent damage to computers due to voltage fluctuations while using grid power establish the basis for a self sustaining ecosystem based on solar power.