InSIC Highlights In 2020

Despite the organisational difficulties imposed by coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic the International Solar Innovations Council (InSIC) had several interesting activities and events during the year 2020. For example: the first small-scale funding project started under the Small Grants Programme; an international webinar on solar innovations took place; two numbers of the Solar Innovator newsletter were published, along with the new articles on the News & Articles section of the InSIC website. Also the InSIC website underwent a major restructuring and improvements.

InSIC Small Grants Programme

The first project funded under the InSIC Small Grants programme was launched in 2020 through one pilot project. The project titled “Performance enhanced Natural Convection Solar Dryer for Fruits” and implemented by Mitraniketan (Kerala, India) aims to tackle several problems of today's solar food dryers: Open sun drying is not hygienic and affecting the quality of products; existing electric dryers are power consuming and expensive; and locally available solar dryers are retaining moisture in the drying chamber due to high relative humidity (65% to 80%).

The development of Mitraniketan’s enhanced dryer  aims to solve the problem by adding three new innovations in the design: a separate drying chamber, a preheater plate and a small chimney enhancing the circulation of air inside the dryer and venting moist air out from the drying chamber. Mitraniketan received a 3,000EUR grant from InSIC for this project.

The First InSIC Webinar On Solar Innovations

The first InSIC 3-hour webinar was held on 18th November 2020. It turned out very successful and will pave the way for the future webinars, to be organised also in 2021.

The speakers of the seminar were Dr. S.P. Gon Chaudhuri of InSIC and NBIRT, Dr. Sunil Agarwal of India’s Department of Science and Technology,  Dr. Reghu Rama Das of Mitraniketan, professor Syed Ghufran Hashmi of the University of Oulu, Finland and  Richik Ghosh, Elina Mähönen and Risto Isomäki from InSIC.

The topics covered in the webinar discussed not only the new innovative solar technologies, such as Perovskites, but also practical implementation of the low-cost solar innovations, such as the Mitraniketan’s enhanced vegetable dryer. Also the potential topics and priorities for the future Small Grants were discussed. To facilitate the eventual future discussions among the experts on a wide range of topics, the new discussion platform Forum on the InSIC website was presented.

The webinar was participated by 65 people and the feedback from the participants was very positive. It was decided that in the future InSIC should aim at organizing two webinars annually.

Solar Innovator Newsletter

nSIC continued the publication of the newsletter Solar Innovator. Two numbers were issued in 2020. Along with the newsletter, several articles were published in the News & Articles section of the InSIC website. 

Website development

The InSIC website (http://solarinnovations.org) went through a major restructuring during the reporting period. Sections were reshuffled and combined to simplify the navigation and coherence. The editing tools for the submission of articles in the News section were drastically improved.

A new tool for facilitating the communication was introduced. The discussion platform Forum gives a possibility not only for InSIC members but also for any registered user to exchange views and ideas on topics of their choice.