India’s villagers reap visible benefits from solar electricity scheme
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
India’s rush for industrialisation may be stymied by a lack of power for its factories, but, barely noticed, solar electricity is being taken to thousands of villages in one of the most ambitious grassroots projects ever attempted.
Five years ago an estimated 400 million people lived with rudimentary, low-quality kerosene lamps, providing poor, polluting and often dangerous light. A further 100m homes were nominally connected to the grid but had intermittent power, often at times when no one wanted it.
But in five years, thanks largely to a single NGO that has not sold one lamp, 500,000 more homes have been provided with cheap, decentralised electricity via powerful solar LED lanterns using the latest batteries and panels.