LUMEN is an innovative project funded by EPICS in IEEE, focused on developing a solar off-grid system to power street lamps. The initiative stands out for its blend of theoretical and practical exposure to solar energy and battery technology, providing a comprehensive learning experience for students. Managed by experienced professionals and enthusiastic volunteers from the IEEE Kerala Section, LUMEN aimed to implement a sustainable solar-powered street lighting solution while fostering teamwork, problem-solving skills, and community engagement.

The primary objectives of LUMEN were to implement a sustainable solar-powered street lighting solution, provide hands-on training in cutting-edge technology, foster teamwork and problem-solving skills among students, and serve the community by improving infrastructure in underdeveloped areas.

The LUMEN project spanned over multiple phases, involving training, practical work, and community engagement. Here’s a detailed account of the activities conducted over the course of the project implementation:
Day 1 Activities:
– Forenoon: Delegates received training in cutting and welding and completed the construction of an enclosure for the power conditioning unit and battery.
– Afternoon: Delegates engaged in making battery enclosures and street light clamps through welding, grinding, and painting, under the supervision of Prof. Gayathri Manikutty.
– Night: Delegates brainstormed ideas for the next day’s tasks, setting the stage for optimizing project execution.
Day 2 Activities:
– Forenoon: The project plan was refined based on the previous night’s brainstorming session. Teams were formed to install and wire the first six poles, with tasks including painting poles, wiring, and mounting lamps.
– Afternoon: Despite rainfall, volunteers showed dedication, completing tasks such as etching the concrete road for wiring, wiring, painting, and mounting lamps.
– Evening: Battery packs were designed and tested successfully in parallel workshops. Solar panels were mounted, and controllers were installed.
– Night: Street lights were successfully lit up for the first time, attended by the local community and virtually joined by distinguished guests.
Day 3 Activities:
The official inauguration took place at the Avoli Grama Panchayath Office Hall, attended by representatives from IEEE Kerala Section and Avoli Local Self-Government.
Key speakers expressed gratitude to the team and local residents, highlighting the project’s significance on lighting the community.

LUMEN was a maker-centered, service-learning program that provided a robust technology-based community service experience. Key achievements included assembling street lights from scratch, routing wires through concrete roads, and designing battery banks. The project fostered teamwork, gender equality, and a can-do attitude among participants, bringing immense joy to the local community.

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