MSU gets gold for social innovation

A SERIES of energy projects to help improve the lives of rural and indigenous communities nationwide led to Management and Science University (MSU) winning a gold medal for social innovation at the Research Innovation Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Showcase (RICES) 2020.

mySolar, by the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering (FISE), comprises small-scale renewable solutions to supply affordable clean energy to underserved communities. It is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1 (Zero Poverty), 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 13 (Climate Action), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), MSU said in a press release.

The latest to benefit from mySolar were rural communities in Perak and Pahang.

Surau Kampung Teluk Dalam villagers in Pangkor Island and the Orang Asli of Paloh Hinai now get their electricity supply from 100W and 15W solar panels.

mySolar resulted in weekly savings on batteries and generator fuel, trips into town for power, and a 50% increase in productivity owed to night lighting.

Instead of 12 productive hours, a typical working day for the Orang Asli villagers is now 18 hours.

Their work does not have to end at dusk anymore. Mothers can sew at night to complete their tailoring orders while their children read, study, or do their schoolwork. Money saved from no longer having to spend on alternative power has been channelled to education, food, and daily necessities.

Funded by the varsity’s seed grant, industry sponsorship and alumni contribution, mySolar also received the MTE (Malaysia Technology Expo) 2020 gold medal for social innovation (Asia) and merit award, and the ITEX (International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition) 2020 bronze medal for invention and innovation.

With MSU president Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid as its patron, the mySolar committee comprises project leader Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Irsyad Abdullah, technical leader Dr Norazliani Md Sapari, industry partnership facilitator Dr Ahmad Sukri Ahmad, lecturers and students.