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Power Roll Trials Solar PV To Power Up Himalayan Villages

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Power Roll, a developer of ultra low-cost and lightweight flexible solar PV is installing an innovative solar mini-grid system to generate and store energy in rural villages located in Mukteshwar, in the Himalaya, India.

In partnership with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), Power Roll is installing a modular system that comprises lightweight, portable solar PV to generate energy and an energy storage capability to enable energy use at night. Each system has been designed to meet the bespoke needs of each village. Applications include powering water pumps to support irrigation, lights to help students study at night and power to run phones enabling access to national and international knowledge and support networks.

“This project will deliver clean, affordable power to three remote communities in India,” said Neil Spann, managing director at Power Roll. “The system is modular and can be adapted to suit individual environmental, economic and social circumstance within each village. It is also light weight which facilitates transport to remote locations. At this stage, we are using our partner BiPVCo's light weight and flexible solar modules within the system. These will provide valuable benchmark data to help evaluate the performance of Power Roll's innovative solar film, which will be used in the next stage of the project.”

There is huge potential to develop the solar mini-grid system and to roll it out across rural India to provide affordable, clean power. This will bring life-changing benefits to whole communities including local governing agencies, smallholder farmers, fishers, market traders and families.

“Access to affordable power can change lives in rural communities,” said Ajay Shankar, Distinguished Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute and former Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India. “Power Roll's model is to seek manufacturing partners to license its intellectual property and manufacture locally, which aligns perfectly with India's ‘Self-Reliant India' industrial strategy.”

The project is being funded through Innovate UK's Energy Catalyst 7 to evaluate the use of flexible PV film in powering rural, off-grid applications in developing regions.

Power Roll will assess the technical benefits associated with a lightweight, portable source of solar power, and will evaluate how access to affordable, clean electricity can enable social inclusion and gender equality. It is also trialling novel approaches to mounting the solar film using wire tensioning systems, which allow the solar film to be quickly and easily moved to where it is most needed.

The project is scheduled to run through to the end of 2021 and Power Roll will report on the outcomes in March 2022.

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