PRINCE-40 solar concentrators can cook for about 40-50 adult meals in one hour. These units are installed in various schools in rural and tribal areas, to cook the mid-day meals for school children.
1. Catholic Relief Services / Madhya Pradesh Samaj Seva Samiti Project in Central India The first project of its kind in Central India was executed for residential schools for tribal children under Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Madhya Pradesh Samaj Seva Samiti (MPSSS), for serving 2500 children. Initially, 2 units were installed for technology demonstration and approval from the cooks, who are the end users. Further, 40 additional units were installed to fulfill the cooking requirements in the residential tribal schools. 2. WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust) project in Maharashtra To provide alternative fuel sources for cooking in schools, WOTR initially installed 2 PRINCE-40 units in schools in order to provide mid-day meals to children. After successful demonstration of the technology and the eagerness of the end user to adopt the solar cookers, 21 additional cookers were installed, to serve a total of 1500 children every day.
1. Catholic Relief Services / Madhya Pradesh Samaj Seva Samiti Project 2. WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust) project These organizations benefit economically, while school children and cooking staff in these organizations enjoy health, safety and other allied benefits from this project.
All units were installed by volunteers from MPSSS, including women, thus ensuring active community involvement in the project. The users reported positive feedback in terms of better aroma, better taste, significant savings in firewood requirement, smoke-free cooking, healthier cooking environment, and availability of additional time to perform other duties in the kitchen. The team at WOTR was initially trained in installation and can now install new solar cookers independently. Money saved in LPG usage is being used to buy more nutritious food for the children. The direct benefits reported by WOTR include cost savings, tastier food, lesser drudgery in procurement of fuels, and no fire hazards. WOTR also reported that solar cooking is fun and educational for the students; they have received multiple inquiries from parents and communities regarding the cookers, their costs and operation.
Organisations invest capital upfront for purchase of pilot units from the manufacturer. Upon proof of technology and readiness to adopt, additional units are purchased by the organization, based on the desired capacity. Financing may also be worked out on EMI basis in case that is desired.
Improving the transportability of PRINCE-40 was necessary to reduce transportation costs. Ease in installation and maintenance results in better community participation and greater confidence in technology. Use of solar cooking also prevents additional hassles involved in procurement of fuel for cooking, along with being economically and environmentally better alternative.
India has 1.2 million rural schools where student numbers vary from 20 to 200. Schools are required to serve mid-day in all these schools. Current cooking fuels are LPG, kerosene or firewood and in most of the cases ‘Women Self Help Groups’ are given the responsibility of cooking. Govt. of India wants to promote solar cooking for these schools and made provision of USD 500 million in their 12th five year plan. Existing solar cooking technologies use SK-14 kind of solar concentrating cookers which are primarily domestic cookers and can cook for not more than 10-15 children. Other option is ‘Scheffler Concentrator’ which is too complex to operate at rural level and is also too expensive. Sensing this need, the innovator made an effort to design a new solar cooker that is economical, easy to operateand maintain without a skilled technician, and has the capacity to cook for 50 children in one hour. The initial design of PRINCE-40, a 4 sq.m solar concentrator unit is a fabricated version. With 2 hours of usage, it can feed 50 adults for full meal (Rice, Pulses& Vegetables). Dish structure is formed with strips and reflectors are tied on the face of the dish with copper wires. The solar cooker was tested at government approved laboratories and has shown great results. The design was also approved by Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, government of India. Two major projects are discussed herewith. Fabricated version required installation to be done by technician and skilled workers to manufacture the dish. A recent modification in the design of fabricated version was done wherein the dish structure is formed using 8 sheet metal panels,maintaining the same geometry. Reflectors are factory fitted on these panels and the design is converted to DIY (Do It Yourself) kit. This modified design provides greater ease in transportation and installation of the solar cookers.
Catholic Relief Services / Madhya Pradesh Samaj Seva Samiti, WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust)
PRINCE (Private sector)