SELCO India has been working in the Udupi District for more than 20 years. The district now has three SELCO India branches – Udupi, Karkala and Kundapura, which has been an indicator of the growth of customers in the district. They have been providing solutions for home lighting, digital education, productive applications; all throughout working with public institutions, government bodies, and civil society organisations. The first completely solar powered village in India, Amasbail was implemented by the SELCO India team in Udupi.
The region faced a complete lockdown with all borders being sealed off on 23rd of March i.e. the first phase of national lockdown. The region sees a lot of tourists to visit temples, migrant workers from across Karnataka and other states seeking work. The lockdown has been relaxed since the 3rd of May i.e. the third phase of lockdown as the district went from three cases detected to zero cases and being in the green zone. The district is expecting 8000 people leaving the district, migrant labourers returning to their homes as well as people coming back to the district from other countries. Mangalore International Airport is about 95 kms, making Udupi a destination for many of the immigrants returning back. Given this situation, strict protocols need to be followed with regular and increased testing for COVID-19 -both targeted and random as stipulated by the Health Department. The district administration has started the initiative of mobile testing vans for conducting random tests along with kiosks at check posts and any entry points.
The Mobile COVID19 Swab Collection vans have two people at every given point with some more people joining in at panchayats. They have a target of testing a minimum of 100 people daily in the targeted regions. The staff have to be completely sealed inside the vehicle and cannot roll down their windows for ventilation, as it can be hazardous. With the summer season at its peak, this task is very difficult for the health staff working in the van with it being parked under sunlight for hours.
Bharatiya Vikas Trust (BVT), a long-time partner of SELCO has been working with the district administration on COVID relief activities, providing masks to frontline workers. They have made over 10,000 masks in 30 days and distributed it across different panchayats. The health department approached SELCO through BVT to solar power the loads in the vehicle. The request was raised 10 days prior to the installation and with agreements and financing worked out.
Two fans, one light (75 W module), a mobile charging unit, a 30 Ah battery and one 10 Amp charge regulator were designed to be installed in the van. The battery was small sized as it is a daytime load with the van only running till the afternoon.
Post COVID, the vans will be used for other purposes as they belong to the health department and the solar system will be moved to a Sub Centre or a Primary Health Centre.
Increased comfort and well-being for the frontline workers as they were working with no ventilation before the installation of the solar energy system. The temperatures in Kundapura near 40 degrees Celsius in April/May.
This intervention will be followed by powering of 2 more testing vans, border police check posts, and primary health centres in the district.
SELCO Solar Pvt Ltd had worked with the health department previously, powering about 20 sub centres in the district. The trust built over the years on the quality of solar energy service in the region resulted in the district administration and SELCO’s partner Bhartiya Vikas Trust reaching out to SELCO with the need for powering the van.