Community-based NGO Himalayan Research Group has won the Himachal Pradesh State Innovation Award for 2016-17 for developing a cost-effective mountain solar water heating system.
Locally called solar ‘hamam’, it will drastically reduce fuelwood requirement by making clean energy available at an affordable cost to rural households in harsh weather conditions.
The award will be presented by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to Himalayan Research Group Director Lal Singh at a state-level Independence Day function in Indora in Kangra district.
The Innovative Mountain Solar Water Heating System was developed by the group under the Core Support Programme of the Department of Science and Technology of the government of India.
It has already installed the heating system in 663 households in Himachal Pradesh and Zanskar Valley in Jammu and Kashmir with the support of national and international agencies. It is in the process of installing 350 systems more in Shimla, Chamba, and Sirmaur districts of Himachal Pradesh.
Lal Singh said the award was a recognition of the innovative nature of approach to provide need-based technology solution to the rural communities in difficult mountain areas.
“We train artisans (carpenters) in our centre at village Dhangiara in Chachiot tehsil in Mandi district and in different villages through training camps to spread this technology into new areas in Himachal, adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and other Himalayan states,” he said in a statement.
The Mountain Solar Water Heating System is designed to suit specific climate and community conditions in the mountainous areas.
The innovative system is fabricated with local material by village artisans to make it cost effective and involves minimal expenditure on installation and maintenance.
The Himalayan Research Group was established in 1997 in Shimla.