BY THE EDITOR
Energy emitted by the sun called solar energy never stops and activates the earth which is highly essential for all living beings. Each day energy equivalent to the output of 180 million generating stations each of 1000 MW (mega watts) capacity is incident on the globe. Of this about 35 per cent is directly reradiated into space; less than 16 percent absorbed by different strata of the earth’s atmosphere and less than 50 per cent reach the earth’s surface. Because of balance maintained by nature depending on environmental components so the earth is inhabitable otherwise it would be extremely hot and not suitable for human existence nor for any living organism either. Humans have made very little direct use of this vast energy and hence there is urgency in harnessing it in view of growing demands since energy sources like coal and oil are becoming scarce. However, for thousands of years solar energy has been indirectly used. When fuel is burned solar energy that is being stored in plants is used and windmills are the machines propelled by winds that results from solar energy.
Selco Foundation of the Bengaluru-based not-for-profit organisation advocates rooftop solar to meet electricity need non-stop in medical facilities which has raised funds from Indian and international corporations and coordinated with local government since 2017. In emergency cases if and when the situation arises these facilities remain connected to power grid only as backup. Prior to setting up of rooftop solar diesel generators were used to provide emergency backup but they were very noisy emitting warm gases and toxic smoke which were unhealthy and uncomfortable. Use of flashlights in hospitals amid sudden blackout also was very inconvenient and uncomfortable though unavoidable especially during baby deliveries. Due to frequent power cuts vaccines and medicines stored in refrigerators were often damaged and healthcare affected especially in warmest summer months when temperature rose very high.
Government Maternity Hospital in the ancient town of Raipur in southern India is one of 251 medical facilities in Raipur district that runs on rooftop solar under a programme set up by Selco Foundation. In Raipur town temperature can rise up to 42° Celsius (107 degrees Farenheit) in warmest months but a ceiling fan that spins uninterruptedly brings soothing and pleasant relief to everybody mostly newborn babies and their mothers. Approximately 600 births take place per year and all deliveries are smooth, calm and peaceful because of pleasing and healthy environment. Some of the patients in these kinds of hospitals who do not know anything or little of hospital’s use of solar power were very happy and grateful for comfortable services which also extend charitable assistance. Raipur has set an example to the rest of the country and it is therefore expected that India as well as Meghalaya will start soon in the same footsteps for the benefit of the common people.