Wednesday, May 25, 2016

First day with SELCO

Today we met with representatives for Solar Energy Company (SELCO), and learned about the many problems India faces due to lack of energy.
Today we met with representatives for Solar Energy Company (SELCO). SELCO runs off of donations, fundraising, and grants. They are an open-sourced company, so they encourage other people to use their information to bring sustainable technology to other parts of India. SELCO is all about social innovation, specifically the needs and identification in the communities, sustainability, problem solving, and human-centric design approach (using all aspects make up social innovation). They asked us to point out observations on social issues that we've noticed as a class, such as:
  • Housing
  • Discrimination of people with disabilities
  • Education equality
  • Water availability and contamination
  • Lack of accountability in workforce
  • Land grabbing
  • Access to healthcare
  • Corrupt government
  • Pollution
  • Nutrition
  • Ability to break the caste system
  • Transportation and mobility
  • Gender equality
  • Occupational safety
  • Sanitation and waste management
  • Population density
SELCO made a connection that all these social issues have an energy angle, like lack of access to energy, and the fact that clean forms of energy lead to a better quality of life.

Something new we learned about was Energy poverty. Examples of what this could look like is power loss (blackouts), access to the grid and refrigeration, homes without proper lighting or ventilation, relying on dirty fuels (carotene lamps), delivering babies by candle light, and the people who work to build high rises end up living in the slums behind them. The Poorest three quarters of the global population use only 10% of the total global energy.