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Lithium ion batteries charge up rural houses

Lithium ion batteries charge up rural houses

Context:

The shift towards lithium ion batteries from the older technology of lead acid batteries has allowed firms like Kaho India Private Limited to help the Centre achieve its rural electrification target even in areas beyond the reach of the grid.

About Kaho India Private Limited :

  • Kaho India Private Limited, started in 2012, seeks to provide last-mile energy access through compact solar modules to areas that are so far not connected to the grid.
  • “For instance, in Chhattisgarh, there are various tribal regions with no electricity and the grid cannot reach there maybe for the next 10 years because even roads cannot be built there due to the high intensity of LWE (left wing extremism) activities
  • The device, developed by the company, can power three lights, one fan, one phone charger and has a socket to power a DC-power television. The firm provides all the related appliances as well, except for the TV.

Background:

The firm had initially developed a unit using lead acid battery but found that the short lifespan of these batteries rendered the entire product all but useless.

Significance of this new technology:

  • “In lead acid batteries, the typical calculation is that you have to put 8 VAh per peak watt of solar panel. In lithium ion, you need to do 4.8 VAh per peak watt. So, you have the size benefit. In a smaller package, we could put in more storage, so it also became cheaper for the government on a per-energy cost basis.”
  • However, the introduction of the more efficient battery technology was accompanied by a rise in the price of the product. 
  • “Now, it priced at ₹50,000 per unit,”“But the government is buying them now under the REC plan and the Saubhagya scheme.”
  • Another benefit of using lithium ion batteries was that they were much lighter than lead acid batteries,
  • “Lead acid battery is said to be charged at what is called a c/10 rate, that is, it has to be charged for 10 hours.“In lithium ion batteries, there are certain technologies where you can charge the battery in 10 minutes,”

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