Success story of APSL Solar Village Concept, Sri Lanka.

APSL Solar Village concept developed by APSL past President Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa focuses on the rural communities who are off the national grid or cannot afford commercially available alternatives, and trapped in poverty due to various reasons. In such a typical community, lighting comes from kerosene lamps and cooking is done with firewood. The project was developed so that rural communities will learn to help themselves in meeting their energy needs.

he design of the project ensures that credible leaders in the community (led by the educationists) will create the Centres for Application of Renewable Energy Sources (CARES), which will enable target householders to gain access to energy services at an affordable price. The project also aims to begin with a small number of households and to grow the number with their own contributions. A CARES scholarship programme for village children will be established from the growing revolving fund to support the development of people in the area. In addition, various development projects and activities to improve the environment depending on the geography, climate and the livelihood of people will be introduced. More information…

Video Link…

Prof. Dharmadasa’s discussion at Young Asia TV- 3D Green


Solar Energy- a Solution to the Energy Crisis in Sri Lanka

I M Dharmadasa (IMD) is the Professor of Electronic Materials & Devices at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK and Head of the Electronic Materials & Sensors Research Group within the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI).

His research activities focus on the development of a new generation of low cost, high efficiency solar cells. He has nearly four decades of experience in both industry and academia and his work has secured six new patents, based on novel process developments. He has also sparked scientific debate by proposing two new scientific theories concerning the development of photovoltaic solar cells. IMD has published over 100 refereed journal papers, 4 book chapters, a single authored book on “Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells” and given over 175 conference presentations, including plenary and invited talks. In this process, he has successfully supervised 17 postgraduate theses, 14 years of postdoctoral research and examined 22 postgraduate candidates. He is now working with industrial partners to commercialise new science that his group is producing.

Earlier in his career, IMD graduated from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka by completing two BSc Honours degrees covering Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. He won the Dr. Hewavitharana memorial prize for best performance for his Physics Special Degree in 1975, and joined the academic staff of the Physics Department in the Science Faculty at the University of Peradeniya. After winning an open commonwealth scholarship in 1977, he completed his PhD thesis in 1980 at the University of Durham (UK), before returning to his post in Sri Lanka. A deep research interest generated by his PhD thesis led to his return to the UK in 1984 where he was an active solar energy researcher at University College Cardiff and the British Petroleum Company (BP), before joining Sheffield Hallam University in 1990. Back home in the UK, he regularly gives guest lectures at secondary schools around Sheffield, with the hope of instilling the importance of renewable energy technologies in the minds of young students. IMD is actively involved in the promotion of clean energy technologies for social development and the reduction of poverty. He helped establish and now leads the South-Asia Renewable Energy Promotional (SAREP) network, which aims to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies.

He has designed, piloted and monitored “Solar Village” project, and this is now in the replication stage within and outside Sri Lanka. IMD is a Fellow of the World Innovation Foundation and the UK Institute of Physics. He referees for over 12 international Journals and currently serves as Assessor/panel member for The European Commission (EC) and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC). In the past he has served as an Assessor & panel member for the UK funding Council (EPSRC), Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), The British Council (BC). IMD holds dual citizenship (Sri Lankan & British) and currently advising several Government Ministries for using renewable energy as a tool for social development and the empowerment of rural communities. IMD is one of the founding members of the APSL-UK (Association of Professional Sri Lankans in UK), and has served as the Vice President for 5 years and the President for two years (2009-2011).

Research Website:


Contacts: E-mail:  Tel: +44 225 6910 Fax: +44 225 6930

Part 1


Part 2


Why have petroleum products become so expensive recently?

There are a few major factors contributing to the price increase of oil.

(a)      The increase of demand over supply

(b)      The weakening of the US dollar

(c)      OPEC vs. non-OPEC or the World politics

(d)      Increasing difficulty in the extraction of oil from the earth crust.

(a)      The major reason in the recent years in the rise in oil prices, is the vast increase of demand of oil by the two fastest developing countries, China and India, whose population amounts to one third of the world’s population.

(b)      Another interesting factor has been the USA and its dollar. The US demand has been high for most of 1990’s; that combined with India and China, the prices went up. However, in recent times, the weakening dollar has been another factor. The oil is priced in US dollars and the dollar’s value has dropped dramatically since the turn of the century. Thus the US is paying more for the oil and hence the oil prices are high.

(c)      OPEC has been trying to amend the price recently by increasing the supply, but the market is not entirely controlled by OPEC. For example, Nigeria is the world’s 8th largest oil exporter. The volatile political situations and threats to lives of oil workers and oil companies have been on the increase in the past few years, which has caused a reduced supply of oil to the world market. The effect has been an increase in oil prices. There is also an effect from speculation by the financial sector, similar to the recent credit crunch.

(d)      From the technical point of view, mankind has used up much of the easily accessible oil during the past two centuries. Although there is enough oil in the earth crust, extraction is becoming harder and more expensive. Imagine the extraction from harsh and hostile environment like the north sea when compared to land based oil wells. Oil prices are going to increase due to this gradual depletion.