Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum

Investigating Solar Street Lights in Mandi and Kamand

Students: Nicolas Adami‐Sampson, WPI; Norma Bachman, WPI; Deepika Chaudhry, IIT; Kisna Mahajan, IIT; Benjamin McMorran, WPI.
Advisors: Dr. Kunal Ghosh, IIT; Dr. Aditi Halder, IIT; Dr. Stephen McCauley, WPI; Dr. Ingrid Shockey, WPI.

Solar street lights are installed throughout Himachal Pradesh, India to promote small‐scale solar, but many are broken. We disassembled lights and conducted interviews with residents and experts to understand the relevant factors, inding that the street light program suffers from inadequate maintenance and that solar is often not the best lighting choice. Finally, we piloted a training program for residents to perform light diagnosis and developed an appropriate technology rubric for selecting evening lighting solutions for Mandi’s slums.

Project Outcomes

Our research led us to a broader understanding of the issues surrounding solar street lights in Himachal Pradesh and a realization that solutions to the true problem of evening lighting may lie outside solar technologies. We developed three key project outcomes:

  • A critical review of the existing solar street light program and suggestions for how its effectiveness could be improved.
  • A pilot program for training local stakeholders how to diagnose and potentially repair existing lights that are out of warranty.
  • A case study of the evening lighting needs of the Mandi Town slum community, including the development of an appropriate technology rubric and proposal of technological solutions.

Please download executive summary, report and poster for more details