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Smart Solar Box

A workshop for bridging the skill gap for energy access

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As technology continue to advance, access to green and renewable energy such as solar energy is quickly gaining popularity. This is because green energy is more reliable and cleaner than most of the other power sources available. This makes it environment-friendly and capable of saving you money. Typically, a solar generator converts sun energy captured by solar panels into electrical power and then stores it in a battery. The stored power can then be utilized to power various appliances. There are still several remote locations across the world where the electricity and grid connectivity is beyond the reach. Portable solar generators could be a viable solution in these regions.

The demand for solar energy will only increase in the coming future. This opens up lot of job opportunities in the renewable energy sector. However many under developed and developing countries still lack required workforce. Bridging the skill gap is key for energy access and growth of this sector.

Smart Solar Box is a smart and intelligent solar power generator with monitoring and control capabilities. This open-source project aims at building a rapid prototype of a smart and intelligent solar power generator with monitoring and control capabilities using easily available components in the market.

A scientist from fortiss GmbH (a German Research Institute), came up with an innovative two-part workshop idea. This workshop aims at introducing participants about solar energy, creating meaningful solar products with social impact. The participants will learn to build a rapid prototype of a smart and intelligent solar power generator with monitoring and control capabilities.

The first workshop of this kind is organized in India at Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN), Gujarat. About ten M.Tech IIT students, studying electrical engineering and computer science has participated in the workshop. The university students have learnt concepts about designing solar photovoltaic systems and built a prototype of smart solar generator during the morning session. On the latter half of the day, some of those participants taught the concepts they learned in the first half to a group of vocational students. The resultant solar box build at the end of workshop was donated to the vocational school for further training and educational purpose. There by, maximizing the impact created by the workshop.

Students from IIT participating in the workshop in the first half of the workshop

IIT students teaching the vocational school students in the second half of the workshop

Overall, this workshop is focused not only on technical concepts of solar energy but also creating a meaningful social impact and maximizing the knowledge sharing within the community. Similar workshops could be organized across the world. Since the solar power generator is designed using easily and readily available components in the market, similar workshops could be organized not just for solar education and training, but also to light up some homes of ignored communities in the world.

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