This made-in-IIT solar plant is illuminating thousands of rural homes in India

You may not be victim to any more power cuts and could even halve your electricity bill, thanks to IIT Madras' new solar rooftop installation.

It's both smaller and cheaper than present installations. Priced at Rs 20,000, it can run tubelights, fans, charging points and a TV. If you go for a higher model, it will be able to run all essential load except washing machine and air conditioners.

As a part of CSR and government sponsorship, the rooftop plant has been installed in 15,000 rural homes. It was successful in facing a three-day power cut during Chennai floods in December 2015.


Now, to install a rooftop of the present technology, a middle-class family would require 1kWh solar rooftop and storage costing about Rs 1.2 lakh and a space of about 100 sq ft.

On Thursday, the solar power system was recognised by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), New York, as 'Technology of the year 2017 in the service of humanity'.

The solar inverterless DC system is cost and energy-efficient as unlike other solar power systems, it does not convert direct current produced by a solar installation into alternate current.


The system comes with a full DC wiring. Each time a unit of AC is converted into DC, there is a 15 per cent loss of energy. A DC system is 2.5 times more efficient than the AC system and hence requires lesser space. While a 125W rooftop solar, a 0.5kWh lead acid DC battery, and few DC electrical appliances will cost approximately Rs 20,000, a basic 500W solar power and 3 kWh lead acid storage will cost a bit over Rs 40,000 without taxes.

It is believed that a solar-DC microgrid can help break the logjam that the domestic power supply currently faces in India. Even as its a great start, data with REC shows that about four crore households are yet to be electrified in India.