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Solar Streetlights and Community Water Supply Hand Pumps

SOPAR-Bala Vikasa is initiating new solar power projects in order to respond to the dearth of electricity in rural Indian villages.

BACKGROUND

The Indian economy, being the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, currently suffers from an abysmal electricity generation capacity. In this scenario, it is the rural areas which suffer the most – reports state that over one third of the rural population lacks electricity. And yet, 70% of rural India contributes to India’s GDP by way of agriculture and small industries.

HOW WE ARE HELPING

As an alternative, Bala Vikasa is intent on promoting the use of solar energy as a sustainable solution to meet this challenge, and entered into discussions with villagers to initiate a community-led project, to provide cost effective solar streetlights and motor pumps to a number of villages. Awareness meetings on solar technology were organized. 93 youth group members, including presidents of 51 Model Communities and Village Development Committees, attended this meeting. They were inspired to raise 20% of the cost from the beneficiaries. Committees were set up in each village to implement and monitor the project. They also raised funds for the replacement of batteries and spare parts to ensure project sustainability.
The streetlights were placed strategically in commonly-used areas in the village. Solar driven motor pumps are a perfect solution in remote areas where water supply is hampered by shortage of electricity. The economical and environmental sustainability of both initiatives were much appreciated by the villagers and the demand from neighboring communities for a similar initiative in their village is growing.