“Solar energy will serve millions of unserved people through indigenous innovations” – Dr. Harsh Vardhan


A Solar Revolution is in the offing, as solar energy fuels the energy growth story in the country. Briefing media persons on the initiatives taken with the support of Department of Science & Technology in New Delhi today, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that solar energy will eventually serve millions of unserved people by developing solar technology-led innovations through indigenous research and development (R&D). The solar equipment developed include “Suryajyoti” – a micro solar dome, a solar water purifier and a solar jacket. Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasized that the Government’s ambitious target includes the energy plan of India for the year 2022 involves generating 175 GW of renewable power, out of which solar energy will account for 100 GW. “20% of the target has been achieved”, he said.

The Minister emphasized that the effort of the Department of Science & Technology is to innovate and manufacture commodities that utilize solar energy and provide benefits in the day-to-day life of the people.  He also pointed out that such innovations seek to improve the quality of life, as well as reduce the expenditure of the people.   Referring to Suryajyoti – a micro solar dome, Dr. Harsh Vardhan underlined that from 30 users in 2016, today more than 5, 000 households are benefiting from Suryajyoti to light up their homes.   “The target is to cover 100,000 homes with “Suryajyoti” by the year 2019”, he added.

Displaying the solar jacket by wearing it himself, Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted the features of the solar jacket – namely, emitting a focused light, lighting up the identification tag and a facility to recharge mobile phones. “This solar jacket is particularly useful for defense personnel and forest officials working in remote and far-flung areas,” the Minister stated.

Stating that these solar energy innovations have been devised, keeping in mind the clean energy needs of the country, the Minister also stated that five solar water purifiers have been produced, with each machine purifying about 400 liters of water per day.

Referring to the Government’s vision of encouraging people to embrace digital banking, the Minister mentioned an upcoming project that is in the development stage and involves the production of a solar ATM in distant rural areas. “The commercial model of the solar ATM is expected to be rolled out in two-three months,” the Minister averred.

Dr. Vardhan also stressed the cost-effectiveness of solar energy equipment.  “The solar jacket (without GPS) costs Rs. 4, 000 and ‘Suryajyoti’ bulb costs Rs. 1100 at present, but the costs will come down when the production is scaled up”, Dr. Vardhan said.

Suryajyoti – Micro Solar Dome

Micro Solar Dome (Suryajyoti), a unique development of DST, is the brainchild of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who inspired a scientist, Dr. S.P Gon Chaudhuri to develop the product to assure lighting access to millions of slum dwellers and tribals of the country.

The Solar Water Purifier is an important S&T innovation that can deliver 300-400 liters of drinking water every day. This water purifier is ideally suited for village schools, primary health centers and tourist lodges where conventional electricity is very erratic or not available. The solar water purifier removes iron and other sediments and kills all bacteria through ultra-filtration and UV. The operational power of the system comes from the sun. Two days storage capacity is inbuilt in the purifier with a unique system called “Storing of Solar Energy in the form of Purified Water.” Water is the most affected part of human life in Indian rural areas. The unavailability of safe potable drinking water and the use of contaminated water lead to cause waterborne diseases affecting millions of citizens. Approximately 4.7 million hours are lost each year due to illnesses caused by consuming contaminated water. The solar water purifier is a pro-people green technology device developed first time in the country with the support of DST.

Technological innovations under this project:

  • Solar energy is saved as treated water
  • No inverter is used
  • No pollution is caused
  • Low maintenance required
  • No batteries are required
  • Development of special DC-DC converter.

Usual contamination of water in rural areas is due to the iron content, bacteria, and suspended particles.  There are two models available, having applications for the location having less, or more Iron.  The storage: 200 liters (for cloudy days or night time).

Solar jacket

The solar jacket is a mobile energy source, especially needed for the defense personnel, forest dwellers, or other people working in far-flung areas. The jacket will have proper insulating material for use in cold regions.

The jacket provides these facilities at present:

  • Torch with beam facilities.
  • Identification code (Illuminated).
  • Mobile Phone Charging facilities.
  • GPS (optional)
  • Pocket Solar Fan (optional).

Upcoming Solar Innovative projects

Among the upcoming innovative projects on solar energy is a solar energy-operated Biometric ATM. The ATM is being designed for rural areas where literacy levels are not adequate. Rural people, constituting a major part of India’s population faces difficulty in using new technology in the field of banking, as most of the people are unlettered and withdraw money from banks using their thumb signature. They are unable to use ATMs which work through a card and four digits PIN. However, they are in desperate need of an ATM, compatible with their level of understanding. Thus, a prototype of the biometric-based ‘BS-ATM’ has been designed which is User-friendly (Based on A/V touch interface) and at the same time avoids the use of cards, PIN, and paper. This ATM is also energy efficient and environment-friendly, as it involves the use of solar energy to power it. Also, various security measures have been implemented using unique logical approaches, keeping provisions for future developments. State Bank of India & Bandhan bank has shown an interest in setting up the machine in two of their rural banks.