Rural Spark Energy Kit
A modular solar home system.
The Rural Spark Energy Kit is an energy solution for rural communities. It is a modular system, with a number of PV solar panels, batteries and lamps that adapt to the customer’s needs. The standard kit includes a Rural Spark router station, one 40Wp solar panel, a prepaid system, one Rural Spark battery cube, 2 Wired LED bulbs, 12 Rural Spark lamps, and 2 mobile phone charge cables with most used connectors. The Spark Station can power any USB powered or 12V powered application. The system is supported by the Rural Spark Service Platform.
Customers become Local Energy Suppliers who can sell the energy to their fellow villagers, becoming resilient entrepreneurs. They can rent lamps, charge phones for their neighbors, which allow them to get an additional income. Modularity of the Rural Spark station also allows for flexible storage capacity to fit the energy demand. The battery cubes can be traded, allowing to trade energy between Local Energy Suppliers increasing efficiency and reliability.
Rural Spark is located in New Delhi, India and Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
Rural Spark will rely on different rural distribution companies to have the products distributed on a large-scale over several channels.interview with representative
The kit is offered to Local Energy Suppliers for around 20.000 INR (300 USD). A hire-and-purchase model is offered by the distribution companies over 18 or 24 months.
The Local Energy Supplier pays a 5% down payment (approx 1.000 INR, or 15 USD). With the financial product, Local Energy Suppliers pay approximately 950 INR per month (14 USD). Their income, however, is around 1.800 INR per month (27 USD per month) generated by providing energy to their fellow villagers (renting lamps, charging phones).
These numbers apply to the standard kit containing 1 PV panel, 1 Rural Spark Router, 1 Rural Spark Cube, 2 Wired LED bulbs, and 12 Rural Spark lamps.
The lamp itself is sold at INR 650, that is to say below USD 10.
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Off grid, low income users in rural India.
The customers can become village level entrepreneurs, creating and developing their own village level business models. Customers can use the products or charge mobile phones or lamps for their neighbours. This way they earn money. With the rental model offered by Rural Spark, people can make profit from day one, and become what they call “Local Energy Suppliers”.
The kits are produced in India. Mass production launched in August 2016.interview with representative
The product is not patented.interview with representative
To date 150 kits have been distributed in the state of Bihar in India. Large scale commercialisation is planned for August 2016. interview with representative
Number and type of power outputs
Number and type of light points
Manufacturer-specified lumen-hours per solar day
Peak power rating of the solar panel in standardized sunlight conditions, provided by the manufacturer
Manufacturer-specified battery capacity
Manufacturer-specified battery voltage
Type of battery used
Can the user easily replace the battery if needed?
Can this system be monitored remotely?
Type of user payment structure
Does this system require mobile connectivity (either for payments or to function)?
The system was designed to be robust, shock-proof, and dust/water resistant. A clear and simple interface indicating available energy, system status, and pre-paid balance is included. There are 16 USB ports and two 12 V DC ports. The modular battery packs can be used to power applications later when no energy is generated (e.g. on a cloudy day in case of solar) or the demand is higher. The battery weights 225 g and has the following dimensions: 89 x 89 x 40.5 mm.
- Bright LED light with 3 modes: Super bright (60 lumens), Average (25 lumens) and Energy save (5 lumens)
- Powered by a LiFePO4 battery
- Durable plastics ( Polycarbonate & ABS casing) and rubber-covered ports provide drop protection (up to 1m) and water resistance
- The lamp contains metal hook to hang the lamp, and a screw hole for wall mounting
- Lamp Dimension: 83 (h) 80 (w) x 36 (d) mm
- Lamp Weight: 117 g
- The lamp is designed to be charged by any standard (5 V) USB charger, including any common phone adapter. The USB – Micro USB cable is included in the box
- 3 LEDs indicating the battery level while using and charging.
24/7 support line by Rural Spark
Replacement service is provided by the manufacturer.
The product has an estimated lifetime of 7 years and a warranty of 2 years against any manufacturing defect.
- Over 3.000 cycles possible, 3-5 time more cycles than standard batteries
- The lamp is built to last for more than 5 years.
No listed hazards.
Battery cubes, lamps and solar panels can be expanded to adapt to the customers’ needs.
The Rural Spark kit can be used to power other electric appliances, for instance 2 hours of TV require 3 battery cubes, 2 hours of fan require 1 battery cube.
USB ports and standard 12V outlets are the power connectors in the router, ensuring standard connectivity for most devices to be able to be powered.
E. Mertens, M.A. van Houten, P.G.S. Rutten, Enable the growth of a smart energy and information network in rural India today, DOI: 10.1109/ISGTEurope.2013.6695234 Conference: Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Europe (ISGT EUROPE), 2013 4th IEEE/PES, 2013
van Heist, M.M.G.; Tomico, O.; & Winthagen, V.O.; (2012). Designing for, with or within: 1st, 2nd and 3rd person points of view on designing for systems, NordiCHI ’12, October 14-17, 2012 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Rural Spark has developed its own testing criteria, and the product is continuously tested. Feedback from the field is also taken into account to evaluate the product.
Rural Spark offers a Service and Retail platform working together with the Rural Spark Energy Router and the existing infrastructure of rural distributors. This platform facilitates marketing campaigns, pre-paid payments, changes in subscriptions and other customer facing interactions through SMS and Phone and gives real-time insights to management.
The lamp comes with one Micro USB Charge Cable and the User Manual & Warranty Card.
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