Man on a mission

The sun’s energy is inexhaustible. So is this solar enthusiast’s zeal to tap it. This man from Hubli has worked indefatigably for over two decades to popularise the use of solar energy. His innovative spirit is undying.

Meet Mahesh S V, the man who has set up the Solar Museum in Hubli. An entrepreneur, innovator and propagator of solar energy all rolled into one, Mahesh is the founder of the Solar Museum situated in Hubli’s Vijayanagar.

Encompassing an area of 1,000 square feet, the museum displays several gadgets and equipment such as driers, sprayers, garden lights, street lights, solar lanterns, cookers, heaters and even a prototype of a crematorium, all powered by solar energy. Mahesh recently came up with a solar cooling cap fitted with a small plastic fan underneath its sunshade.

The fan draws solar energy through a photovoltaic battery mounted on the upper side of the sunshade. Mahesh says the cap can be used by batsmen in cricket matches or even construction labourers working under the torrid sun, in extreme heat conditions. It is ideal for trekkers, walkers and joggers, too. This entrepreneur had set up a stall at the recently concluded Solarcon India at the Bangalore International Exhibition Grounds and could be seen promoting an array of solar products that he has devised and manufactures at Hubli.

His solar cooling caps sold like hot cakes. He says the minuscule fan and PV battery is detachable and can even be mounted on the sunshade of a helmet.
Mahesh has also come up with a unique water heater which works even without an overhead tank.

According to him, a direct connection with the pipe that carries water from the sump fills up the water heater. It stays there at the temperature of 60 degree Celsius till it is emptied through use the next morning. Because it is not connected to the overhead tank, cold water does not get into the heater and make the water tepid.

Mahesh says one square mile of land receives about 1,000 watts of energy through solar rays in the space of a sunny day, and by most generous estimates, only 0.1 per cent of it gets used. The rest of the energy goes waste. Statistics like these come in handy for him to convince—as well as to win converts to his cause—students and researchers who come visiting his Solar Museum.

The museum has won recognition as a training centre by the Department of Public Instruction, Agriculture Training Department and the Karnataka Milk Federation.
All these departments regularly send their trainees for a first-hand experience of the potential of solar energy.

The Solar Museum was inaugurated in February, 2006. Since then, it has been a beehive of activity with umpteen number of seminars, exhibitions, painting and drawing contests and debate competitions having been organised there. Mahesh also organises a sun jatha on February 4 (the day the museum was founded) every year, which, according to Hindu mythology, is the day when the sun god rides a chariot and summer begins.

Mahesh’s crusading zeal for tapping solar energy has won him several awards and wide acclaim. He also plans to construct a sun temple. He honours people who contribute to tapping solar energy with Sun Ray Awards.

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