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Delhi Students' sustainable solar energy idea wins Hult Prize India National Finals 2018

Posted on Monday, June 4, 2018

The idea to come up with a solution to ‘Harness the Power of Energy to Impact the lives of 10 million people, reports Rajlakshmi Ghosh

The idea to come up with an innovative solution to ‘Harness the Power of Energy to Impact the lives of 10 Million People with a $1 Million seed capital’ gave Team Solatrix, the impetus to create an affordable solar water heating for the rural poor. The system is around 22% more efficient in heat conversion, and 60% cheaper than conventional water heaters. The team—comprising Ayush Garg, Prashansa Khandelwal, Shivam Kaushik and Ganesh Gulati— all engineering undergraduates of Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology Delhi-- won the Hult Prize India National Finals 2018 held at Gurugram and IIT Delhi in April 2018. Pitted against the IITs, IIMs, NITs and more, the team competed with 40 shortlisted teams from around the country to win the top prize. Presently, Team Solatrix is set to represent the country at the 8-week London Accelerator programme in July-August 2018 for the opportunity to advance to the Hult Prize Global Finals at the United Nations (UN) in September 2018. 

Social entrepreneurial solution

The team redesigned the conventional solar water heater to come up with a product called Syncholar. “Our water solar heater is spherical while conventional solar water heaters are flat,” says Ayush, team leader, who hit upon the idea while in school. The Hult Prize, 6-7 years later, gave them the right platform to implement their thoughts.

Incubation and innovation

“It took Team Solatrix six months to change the idea into a workable business model. While hospitals, laundries and hostels became our target market, they were hardly a means to create a social impact. This prompted us to sell the product as a subscription-based service,” says Prashansa.

Presently, the team has plans to install Syncholar stations (to monitor hot water consumption) in the rural belt. “In the urban metros, electricity is the primary source of water heating while rural India largely depends on fossil fuels,” informs Shivam.

The journey so far

With the win the team is raring to go, hoping their social enterprise has the potential to impact rural healthcare infrastructure and change a great many lives.

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