Himalayan Research Group, which bagged the state innovation award for ‘solar hamams (mountain solar water heating system) earlier this year, has been invited to share the technology in Finland.

Director, HRG, Lal Singh will present the innovative technology at the international conference on ‘Promoting Innovation in Solar Energy’ being organised jointly by the International Solar Innovation Council, Siemenpuu Foundation and the Energy Reform Group of the Finnish Parliament from 15 to 18 October.

He will talk about innovative work of tapping solar energy to improve quality of life in mountain regions as a case study of Indian Himalayas titled ‘Innovative Solar water and space heating systems for mountains’.

HRG is a Shimla based NGO of likeminded professionals, which was accredited as core group of Department of Science and Technology in 2005. The ‘Solar Hamams’ and space heating systems, developed by HRG using local materials and skills of rural artisans has also won appreciation from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Singh shared that the HRG solar systems for water and space heating system save around 40 per cent fuel wood per household per annum to help prevent around 4.90 tonnes of carbon emission per household per annum.

“Besides forest conservation, saving of fuel wood contributes to significant reduction in women drudgery. The hill women will no longer need to spend hours in forests to collect fuel wood and they can invest the time thus saved in some productive livelihood activity to have more time for leisure.”

He said the availability of hot water improves health and hygiene of mountain population especially of women. Focus of all these efforts was to improve the economic condition, reduce drudgery and improve livelihood conditions of the women by providing them the appropriate innovative technologies at household level in difficult mountain areas.

He said his team has been working to develop cost effective and maintenance free systems for harnessing solar energy for water and space heating in Himalayan mountain terrain since 2008. We have already installed 700 solar water heating systems in different districts of HP and J&K.

As many as 161 solar space heating systems were also installed in the two states,” he said. He said 150 solar water heating systems are under installation in Shimla and Chamba districts of Himachal. Singh said all these solar systems were installed with financial support from different international, national and state agencies keeping in view the objective of carbon emission mitigation and rural livelihood priorities.

HRG solar water and space heating systems address round the year needs of hot water and space heating in mountain households.

These systems were designed and developed by HRG team under the Core Support Programme of the Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED) Division of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.