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Cosmos (Compact Solar Modular System)

Cosmos is an all-in-one off grid system for struggling communities that uses solar energy to facilitate education and access to information.

Photo of Riya Bhartia
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Cosmos (Compact Solar Modular System) uses solar power to facilitate education and inspire community growth by providing access to information. Using green energy to provide a self-sustaining, informative solution to communities in need is the essence of Cosmos. Issues it addresses   1. Audio-Visual Education   Schools in developing countries rarely have access to the internet or the means to provide audio-visual enhancements to their classes.  Cosmos solves both problems, allowing teachers to better articulate their lessons and boosting students' education.   Adult education in developing countries is critical, yet often seems impossible because of their work schedule during the day and unreliable access to light at night.  The LED light equipped in Cosmos makes night schools/revision schools possible.    Some use melamine boards with scratches, dings and discoloration from marker residue. Teachers and students in other government classrooms may not be as lucky — the chalkboard at some schools is simply a concrete wall painted with black paint. They’re hard for students to see and read and hard to erase.  Cosmos comes outfitted with a whiteboard which can be utilized while the monitor is not in use.  Its light provides the illumination crucial for night schools.   Additionally, it allows students to charge their phones and other small gadgets, providing a convenience and a further incentive to come to school.     2. Lack of Information Cosmos creates the potential for information centers where people in the community find answers to their questions and use the internet to look for opportunities.  For example, supplying farmers with the newest technology, solutions for the optimal use of their land and informing them with the market price of their produce.  Or helping students register for examinations and providing access to job opportunities.  Cosmos serves as a stepping stone for people that don't have access to a global platform.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000+, while 236,004 Indian villages have a population of fewer than 500. These smaller villages that are often not connected to the national grid are what we aim to focus on. Our main target market is small schools and communities of such villages in developing countries. We have used struggles in villages of India as our reference so far, but we eventually we envision adapting our product for other countries like Africa and Indonesia. Major Concerns: Kerosene as a harmful light source, discouragement to learn because of dim lighting, Not feeling in control, inefficient use of time, don’t qualify for electricity because of low population, Farmers have been forced to sell crops without knowing the market price, students can't access the full range of available information

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Why this matters.   Nearly half the world lives in the dark, without access to electricity, or get unreliable hours of power per day. Electricity is one of the greatest enablers.  It increases productivity, permits learning and education, and allows people to access the internet, opening a nearly infinite range of knowledge and resources.  Yet without other options, many households resort to using kerosene lamps, which produce dangerous fumes and can cause devastating fires.  Cosmos attempts to change that.   Cosmos allows a community to generate their own electricity, store it and use it to enlighten themselves and educate their children — all without having to pay a utility bill, buy fuel or produce harmful pollution. We provide an all in one off grid solution that will empower the community by not having to rely on the government. We believe that the poor are not looking for sympathy; they are looking for a partner.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

This project is done by 'Eiko', a global internship initiative started by a 112 year old Japanese company called Nakayama Ironworks Ltd. This initiative was started 2 years ago and we've had 17 interns from 5 different countries so far. Website:

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

We believe that our idea will help bring Prosperity and Planet. Planet: We use green energy as a source of power keeping the current climate change issues in mind. Prosperity: Smaller villages experience stunted growth due to hurdles like being disconnected from the world. By providing them a tool to inform themselves, it will give them a fighting chance to progress as a community.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

So far the idea has been developed by the design intern with technical support from the others. We are hoping to be able to collaborate with individuals or organisations with knowledge in the field of education or non profit work.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

These communities have hard working and motivated individuals which deserve to be given a bigger platform to succeed. Harish Hande, a social entrepreneur talks about a more equitable India and says, "There is a huge potential of entrepreneurs, mathematicians, innovators, inventors that is just lurking behind darkness. So by putting that one light, we are taking the first step out of ten." We want to provide more than just that light.

Geographic Focus

While we are focusing on India, we would like to reach African villages in the future as well.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

1 year

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Raise YourVoice

This project is a great idea, while we are not off the grid however the cost of electricity is quite high and struggling families cannot afford the monthly charges so families revert to using candles and kerosene lamps which sometimes results in fires which destroys family home and all their possessions. We wish you all the best for this initiative.

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer

We have continued after having read your PDF-file (Cosmos Catalog (Engish)'(Final).pdf) - and have made comments in the same document as before:

We had to copy a page from your PDF document for us to comment it - so we have chosen to put our vast comments in that document. Questions are welcome, but then keep them either in that document or here, such that everybody who would want, can benefit from our dialogue:

The comments are too long to fit within this - so we have made the Google document editable, so everyone can join in and participate both here and there.

From the continuance in the document:
"We have some comments which are difficult to enter via the home page. It is regarding some of the various pages in your PDF document, which we have then screen-copied for reference her at the left side:
You have created like a 1-box-does-it-all, where everything is inside. While surely there are many benefits of such a model, it is my experience throughout 30+ years of making mechatronics, that your particular model is prone to serious issues.
The battery you have indicated, appears as a Lead/Acid battery - 4 pieces of them. Handling heavy batteries, even though it may be once in 2 or 4 years, inside of an enclosed compartment, should indeed be a no-go. Batteries should be kept aside, and be connected with appropriate cabling. Batteries should be kept outdoors, yet, dry, and well ventilated. Even the CaCl-enhanced Pb/H2SO4 batteries should be kept outdoors. The content liquifies over time, and what was a gel, becomes a liquid. Keeping the batteries inside the compartment will make small, insignificant, but constant, Sulphuric Acid to eat up any and all electronics you may have in the rest of the box. So: Batteries far away. You have built in a camera, which is rigid and stiff and locked. Such a camera would ideally be much better with a little battery inside it, maybe 5000 mAh, and then with Bluetooth, connected to the stand. Now if you choose ..." Continue from the document...

Photo of Riya Bhartia

Hi David and Thomas,

Firstly, i’d like to thank you for taking the time to give such detailed and helpful feedback. It sums up perfectly everything I need to build on and has given me some clarity on how to move forward.

I've replied to your comments in the Google Doc.
Looking forward to hearing more from you.


Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer

Dear Riya Barthia,

Wow. We are being feted so much by everybody in this OpenIDEO, and yet, we are just writing a few comments here and there, what we think could work&not work, how we see it in our perspective. Am thankful that it works well for you guys, and I shall immediately attend to the Google document and reply there. For everybody else - the document is open and we can all benefit from reading everybody's comments - so the link is here, once again:

What have you then found out, Riya, in regards to how to move on? Share with all of us, so that we can all grow.

Have a nice day, and greetings to your team.

Rational Intuitive IVS
Thomas / David
Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal

Hi Riya Bhartia , It's great to see you contributing to the challenge by introducing an interesting product. Since this is an open platform, I would like to connect you with which serves a similar purpose. Is there any opportunity for you to work together towards a common goal?

Photo of Riya Bhartia

Hi Gayanjith Premalal , thank you for sharing that link. I will review it and get in touch with them! I'm sure we can find a way to work together.

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer

Here link to our comment:

Copy of the same here:
Comments to Riya Bhartia, COSMOS
06 June 2018
Hi @Riya Bhartia , @Cosmos (Compact Solar Modular System) - Having read your good wishes for doing LED-lights for the Indian population - and later likely also globally for the world population - it touches us in our project, @Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator as we are heading for the same communities, however, with a system for producing all household needs for heat and cooling.

We agree with your observations. However. Even though you are in the idea stage, your idea, in our humble view, must be improved vastly by adding concrete action to what you intend to do? I would challenge you to go specific. Be particular what you intend to do, how you intend to do it, be practical, hands on.

In our corporate, @rational intuitive (those who runs the Nexus 7 project here in the GHR Foundation competition), we say, that an idea is like 0.1% of the product. We have, for instance, ourselves, a set of books containing more than 1,100 ideas, written down, over a period of more than 30 years. Out of these ideas, we assume that some approximately 1% of these ideas will see daylight in form of products and projects.

We have - over these 30+ years, worked with 80+ of them, out of which, by now, 4 of them have come to fruition. Nexus 7 is the 5th project - and fruition happened, when we started implementing, started putting our hands in the machine.

Therefore, @Riya Bhartia we strongly propose to you that you - maybe in our communication, here - makes a practical, hands on, business calculated approach to it, where the entire concept comes out as something which can be implemented. You could take a look at our presentation - the @Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator - as it is hands on.

One can - almost - build our system from our project description.

Questions are welcome, you can mark text in this document and apply comments. There is an error in the system making comments disappear. I will copy this text into the comment field, but after having lost what I wrote, 2 times, I am now bit cautious :-)

I have made GHR aware of it, and hope they will be able to make a workaround such that we will not see our contributions getting lost.

David Svarrer / Thomas Høyer
Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator
From: Rational Intuitive IVS