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The Solar Man, lighting up rural India

67 per cent rural population of India is contributing 37 per cent of economy towards India’s GDP. Agriculture is still a pillar of socio-economic structure. However, rural India is still facing issues relating to lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity, clean water and sanitation.

Huge opportunity in the solar energy
Grid-connected power is still non-accessible to majority of people from rural India. They are forced to use traditional sources of energy such as kerosene, diesel, etc. which not only acts as burden on government subsidies, but also causes substantial health and environmental hazards.

Sachin Shigwan, also known to be the Solar Man is offers an opportunity through his established firm -Green India Initiative Pvt. Ltd. to bridge the massive infrastructure gap and improve the social, economic, environment and health indicators by 30 per cent through solar energy. As part of the government’s vision of ‘Electricity for all’, the centre has placed special emphasis on incentivising distributed solar power, having already sanctioned 4,604 distributed solar projects in rural area to power 4,745 villages/hamlets. The Solar Man & Green India Initiative Pvt. Ltd. has set up a mission to light up 1000 rural villages with the help of solar energy till 2020. The Solar Man has come up with many sustainable and innovative solar energy projects for rural India in a unique way. This mission will be achieved while harnessing the fund from CSR corpus of corporates and social initiatives of NGO’s and individuals.

Lighting up rural India
The decentralised solar systems makes it easy to deploy multiple rural applications, impacting key facets of rural population such as productivity, safety, health benefits, access to clean water, heating solution and livelihood.

Solar lighting, for example, not only provides a high quality solution to improve rural productivity, but also substantially reduces health hazards by enabling replacement of kerosene lamps. Even 4-5 hours of additional lighting can improve productivity and income of rural household by nearly 30 per cent.

Solar micro and mini grid are logical extensions of standalone solar lighting solutions as they have the capability to provide incremental benefits to households such as powering fans, mobile charging, community television, as well as facilitating Internet access etc.

Smarter farming
Another important application is solar powered agricultural pumps, which have the potential to substantially improve productivity of Indian farmers. Solar agricultural pumps are an economic and environmentally-friendly alternative to nearly 26 million agricultural pumps installed in India, of which 10 million are diesel-fired.

Possible applications
Clean water remains a big challenge in rural India, since water treatment requires power. Solar water pumps draw water from different water sources such as lake, pond, river, well and ring well to fulfil the potable water need of rural India. Solar energy find important applications in this field like solar water pump.

Last but not the least, solar energy also provides a multiplier effect by providing employment and entrepreneurial avenues to rural youth. Given the simple and modular nature of solar systems, large number of semi-skilled laborers in rural India can be employed for installation and after sales services of these systems.

The Solar Man is offering many such innovative and sustainable applications for the development of villages and its population. With the help of his firm – Green India Initiative Pvt. Ltd. The Solar Man has lighten up nearly 100 villages till date. It is evident that adoption of solar power as an alternative source of energy could alter the socio-economic fabric of rural India, for the better.

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