Many Indian villages have not yet seen the ‘light’ of the day. Tucked away in the remote corners, these villages have never been electrified. But a tiny tribal hamlet, Baripatha, about 25 km southwest of Bhubaneswar has set an example of positive change by becoming the first village in the state to be powered entirely by solar energy. 2nd Oct, 2015 marked a life changing experience for the 350-odd dwellers of Barapitha. It unshackled itself from darkness, and is, today, shinning with hope and ambition with the inauguration of the Solar project to make the village 100% solar powered. The project envisions enhancing the usage of non-conventional energy sources in all the village households.
The Rs 7-lakh project, co-funded by ECCO Electronics (a solar products manufacturer) and Jakson Group (a diversified power solutions provider), has put individual solar units with two lamps in each of the village's 61 households, along with a central one-kilowatt unit that powers eight street lamps, and an LED television set and a TV set-top box for the community centre. Two multipurpose LED lamps were given to each household which cost Rs 2,650 and Rs 1,750 each; the villagers can also get them on easy installments through micro-finance.
Until now, in all rural solar projects, central units would supply power to households. The exposed cables were tapped by others while some people would draw more than their shares. This would cause the central unit to overload and trip. By providing individual units to each household, these problems have been resolved.
What’s makes this project truly unique is the fact that the model is low-cost, low-maintenance and community-owned. These factors are missing in other solar-powered projects and so this project can be taken as a model to be replicated all Indian villages which do not have access to electricity.
This project is nearly zero-maintenance. The only little maintenance required is regular cleaning of the solar panels and ensuring that the water levels in the batteries are at the optimum mark in the central unit. The central solar unit has eight big panels that can be folded in just two minutes to protect them from cyclones and high-speed winds that hit Odisha frequently. What’s more interesting is that this central unit can also operate a one-horsepower irrigation pump. Thus, the village roads, houses and community centers would have perennial solar lighting facility and they can also irrigate their field in case of a deficient monsoon.
SolarHippo recognizes the importance of such solar projects which aim to ‘lighten-up’ the life of the villagers who have been long denied the right to live with dignity. When the sun sets, there is practically no electricity left for these villagers for even their small, daily chores. The children can’t play and study at night, the women can’t perform the household chores and the men can’t work for long under the dim light of kerosene lamps or torches. This is the dark story of almost 18,500 villages in India where electricity is still a dream too far away to be realized!
SolarHippo plans to illuminate many homes this Diwali with the launch of ‘Light a Life’ campaign. All you have to do is to buy a solar light from SolarHippo.com for only a meager Rs 500 and donate it. We will deliver these solar lights to Indian villages with the help of our partner NGOs. SolarHippo has taken this initiative to illuminate the lives of people who are still in dark, by providing them a solar lamp.
You, too, can also make a difference. Make this Diwali special; brighten up your heart as you illuminate someone's home; Donate a solar lamp with SolarHippo, Light a Life!
Join our ‘Light A Life’ movement at https://www.solarhippo.com/page/light-a-life