Solar tech from IIT-Madras is lighting up remote villages across India, one home at a time


Incubated at IIT-Madras, Cygni Energy is installing solar units and improving the quality of life in remote villages where people did not have access to electricity till now.

Electric power is something most of us take for granted, but there are a few remote villages in India that continue to do without electricity. But unfavourable terrains and isolated locations don’t stand a chance in front of innovation.

Pioneered by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, Solar-DC Inverterless Technology is lighting up homes in remote regions across India. These include isolated villages in Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Cygni Energy Private Limited, a Solar-DC solution startup incubated by Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) of IIT-Madras, is now set to install 3,026 units in Manipur. Another batch of 25,000 units of solar inverters and lights will also be installed in villages across Assam.

In a conversation with NDTV, Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT-Madras, who led research on the project, said, “It is of great importance that we have played a major role in taking power to remote villages in Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, and Jammu and Kashmir. Solar-DC system makes the equipment much smaller in size and cost.”

Manipur Renewable Development Agency provided the funding for installing the solar units in Manipur. So far, 2,800 homes have been covered; 96 villages have been electrified.

According to the official statement, the Solar-DC solution lets people use power for 8 hours full-load and close to 12-14 hours in reserve mode (only basic appliances like bulb and mobile chargers).

Cygni Energy’s website showcases a few interviews with people who have benefited from the innovation.

“We are happy now with the solar power in our village. Now we don’t have to use kerosene anymore that we used to buy for Rs 20 per litre. Now, it helps us in having great savings. We couldn’t have imagined this in our dreams, but we are seeing it now,” one of them said.

Till date, 30,828 installations of the total 44,854 planned have been completed.


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