At a time when the growing population, with its rapidly changing consumption patterns for mobility, food and energy, exerts an ever-increasing pressure on earth’s fragile ecosystem, an IIT Mumbai alumnus is riding 500 km to push for the use of an alternative energy source for daily domestic utility.
Sushil Reddy, an IIT alumnus, has undertaken a 500-km ride from Mumbai to Goa along with his team on a partially solar-powered bicycle to create awareness about solar energy and its ecosystem among Konkan villages along the way. They plan to reach Calangute, Goa by Christmas on December 25th.
“We wanted to make this a solar awareness ride, so that villages that fall between Mumbai and Goa understand the potential of solar energy and develop solar chargers through us to power their households. The ride started on 10th December from Gateway of India and I hope to cover 60-65 km each day,” said Reddy, who holds an energy engineering degree from IIT, Mumbai.
For this initiative, Reddy has received support from his mentor and IIT Mumbai professor Chetan Singh Solanki, widely credited for his solar energy initiatives in India. “So many innovations are taking place in the solar energy space, we need to spread awareness for people to shift to alternative sources of energy. The time to act is now,” said Solanki, who founded the company kWatt Solutions Pvt Ltd (kSPL) with a vision to solarise the future of India.
“In Konkan areas, getting electricity even for a few hours is a big question mark. Through this ride we will not only educate the villagers about solar energy, we want them to gradually stop relying on Kerosene for their energy requirements. For example, if these people spend Rs 600 annually to buy subsidised kerosene, the same amount can be used on solar lamps. It’s a one-time investment,” added Solanki.
The primary aim of this initiative is to apprise villagers of the feasibility of solar energy in daily life. “We will interact with villagers and understand their energy requirements. We will then devise products that meet their needs. The idea is to tell them that solar energy is not expensive and it’s possible to use it daily at a feasible rate. After the interaction, we will also distribute 15-20 solar mobile chargers for free,” said Reddy.
Reddy is also passionate about cycling. He has, in fact, participated and completed one of the toughest 2-day mountain cycling race in India called MTB Shimla in 2012. HASTPA, the organisers of MTB Shimla, are also supporting Sushil’s ride. Speaking about Reddy’s initiative, director of MTB Himalaya Ashish Sood said: “It’s high time that we as a society start using alternate sources of energy in our daily lives. We have to start acting right now. It’s a great step by the young students of IIT to lead the way with a very innovative product. Cycles can be instrumental in reducing pollution and decongesting our ever growing city traffic. HASTPA has been actively working with the government in Himachal Pradesh to promote cycling as a daily means of commute and we are more than happy to support this initiative where Sushil is riding across a lot of villages from Mumbai to Goa.”
Here are the updates from Sushil Reddy’s Instagram feed: