Since the mid-1990s, Brahma Kumaris and WRST have built/installed various solar energy systems and carried out numerous research and demonstration projects.
1995 – Using soil blocks, two experimental eco-buildings were constructed at Brahma Kumaris’ Gyan Sarovar, Mt. Abu. Electricity powered by a R&D PV/Wind hybrid system sponsored by German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ).
1996 – a modular solar steam cooking system of 24 parabolic Scheffler dishes (7.5m² each), capable of generating steam for 2,000 meals per day was installed at Gyan Sarovar, Mt. Abu.
1997 – a 50,000 Ltrs/Day Solar Hot Water System was installed at Gyan Sarovar, Mt. Abu.
1999 – a solar-steam cooking system, based on 84 Scheffler dishes (9,5 m²) for 35,000 meals a day, was installed at the Brahma Kumaris’ Shantivan Campus, Abu Road.
1999 – 60 BK centres in India were equipped with a 5 KW solar PV system funded by World Bank. 2000 – 3 x 50 KW solar PV plants with battery backup were installed at Pandav Bhawan, Mt. Abu.
2002 – a 50 KW solar steam cooking system was installed at Brahma Kumaris, Yellapur, Karnataka.
2002 – a solar steam cooking system with an output of 800 kg of steam daily (5000 meals per day) was installed at Mt. Abu headquarters.
2003 – a solar steam generation system (1000 kg steam per day) for cooking, laundry and sterilisation was installed at Global Hospital and Research Centre at Mt. Abu, funded by MNRE.
2006 – a 200 KW stand-alone solar power plant was installed in the Brahma Kumaris’ Om Shanti Complex near Delhi.
2007 – a 16 m² Scheffler prototype dish was successfully designed and tested at Shantivan, funded by MNRE.
2011 – a 200 KW SPV power plant with battery backup was installed at Om Shanti Retreat Centre.
2011 – the construction of India One solar thermal power plant (1 MW) with storage, started near Shantivan.
2012 – a 200 KW SPV power plant with battery backup was installed at Om Shanti Retreat Centre.
2014 – 300 x SPV systems (1-6 KW) with battery backup were installed at various Brahma Kumaris centers in India.
2017 – Completion of “India-One” Solar Thermal Power Plant at Abu Road, Rajasthan.
2016 to 2021 – Research Project with IIT Mumbai. “Design and development of single cylinder Free Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) for net 3 kW Electrical Output using Solar Energy as Input”, sponsored by the ONGC Energy Centre Trust.
2016 to 2022 – Research Project with IISc Bangalore, “Development of High Integrated Receiver for supercritical CO2 integrated with static focus Parabolic dish” funded by MNRE.
2023 – installation of innovative induction cooking system powered by solar PV at Om Shanti Retreat Centre.
In addition, more than 20,000 solar lanterns, 500 home light systems and 400 solar cooking boxes have been distributed so far. Over the years, the Brahma Kumaris has organised various conferences, workshops and training on awareness, environment and solar technologies.
Capacity Building and Training
It is the aim of Brahma Kumaris to highlight the relationship between our awareness and the technology we choose. We believe that a holistic approach based on peace, cooperation and love is the key to a sustainable future. Brahma Kumaris inspires people to use renewable energy technologies by organising training workshops, conferences and publishing research papers and articles. The research projects of Brahma Kumaris & WRST aim to build up the capacity and expertise of individuals, groups and organisations so that the design and layout of the different solar systems can be replicated
India One Solar Thermal Power Plant
In spring 2017, Brahma Kumaris and WRST completed the design, development and installation of “India One”, a 1 MW solar thermal power plant in Abu Road, Rajasthan. This research project uses the in-house developed 60 m² parabolic dish and features innovative thermal storage for night operation. The 60 m² dish is a new development based on 20 years of experience with parabolic concentrators. “India One” will generate heat and power for a campus of 25,000 people.
Key features of “India One”:
- 770 nos. of 60 m² parabolic dishes & 1 MW peak electrical output
- Co-generation, efficient use of thermal energy & modular design
- Thermal storage for night operation & direct steam generation
- Networked enabled automated dual-axis tracking and controls
- Motionless cavity receiver & efficient use of land
For “India One”, Brahma Kumaris & WRST have secured funds from:
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE, Govt. of India) under its research & development scheme.
- The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) via its bilateral “ComSolar” initiative through GIZ (German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation) to demonstrate and promote this technology.
Team and Consultancy
Brahma Kumaris & WRST created a local team of engineers and experts to ensure smooth execution of the project. A dedicated staff of more than 40 people is coordinating the activities on site. The team was in close liaison with various Indian R&D institutes and manufacturers.
In addition, the project enjoyed the support and consultancy of:
- Wolfgang Scheffler, Heike Hoedt and Christoph Müller, Simply Solar, Germany for design input and tracking.
- The Fraunhofer Institute (ISE) of Freiburg, Germany for simulation, designing of the monitoring system and evaluation of the performance.
- IndiaCare of Berlin, a long-standing partner of WRST in renewable energy projects, supported the project and coordinated activities with German R&D institutes and companies