At an exhibition to mark Odisha's National Disaster Risk Reduction Day, the Climate Parliament was proud to co-present an innovative new solution to India's burgeoning energy and decarbonisation needs: a Soura Ratha, or “Solar Cart”, capable of quickly and efficiently delivering clean, reliable power to where it is needed most.
The Soura Ratha, developed in collaboration with the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA), Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and Practical Action, is a powerful and highly mobile micro-truck, equipped with solar PV modules, battery banks, and smart energy management units. These allow it to power a variety of CFL/LED lamps and collapsable lamp posts, as well as providing energy to mobile chargers, laptop chargers, solar PV work stations, solar-powered water pumps, and other electricity-intensive equipment. The truck's versatility and power allow it to be rapidly deployed in villages or communities affected by power shortages or natural disasters, bringing much needed electricity to run lighting, communications and medical equipment for front-line disaster relief teams.
The launch of the Soura Ratha prototype was attended by the Hon. Cheif Minister Naveen Pattnaik, at the invitation of MLA Mr Amar Satpathy, convenor of the Climate Parliament group of legislators in the Odisha State Assembly. Immediately after the event, the state government agricultural department, at the behest of the Chief Secretary's office, contacted the Climate Parliament to register their interest in deploying a version of the Cart for drought affected areas in Odisha. With potentially up to 60,000 solar carts deployed to villages across the region, the Soura Ratha could provide a crucial tool for assisting drought affected communities in the region, which is amongst the most water stressed in India.
The success of the launch comes as a result of Climate Parliament Odisha's long running campaign on utilising renewable energy in disaster affected areas in the state. Energy is a critical requirement in any disaster struck areas, which are often cut off from the mainstream power supply system. Working from an initial proposal from Hon. Prashant Muduli, an active member of the Climate Parliament's Odisha group of legislators, Climate Parliament worked closely with legislators and the Odisha State Ministry for Disaster Management, as well as OSDMA and OREDA, to develop the concept and secure funding. The prototype of the Solar Cart was then designed and assembled by the UK-based NGO Practical Action which has immense experience in decentralised renewable energy devices in Odisha.
Following the successful launch of the cart, the Climate Parliament group of legislators plans to pursue the relevant Government agencies to incorporate this technology in the form of a State-wide policy.