Solar-Powered Micro Grids Change Lives of Indian Villagers
Monday, March 5, 2012
In Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s poorest states, a pair of US-born entrepreneurs is creating a new model for energy delivery to villages far from the grid. The founders of Mera Gao Power build and operate solar-powered micro grids to provide low-cost lighting and mobile phone charging to village houses, giving many rural people access to both light and power for the first time in their lives.
For many villagers in off-grid areas in India, their only source of light after dark comes through kerosene powered lanterns, which can cause serious health issues, both from the fumes released while burning, and the chance that children may accidentally drink the kerosene. So when Nikhil Jaisinghani and Brian Shaad give them the opportunity to have LED lighting to replace the dirty kerosene lights, plus a way to charge their mobile phones, they also give them a way to change their lives.
“Quality, dependable light transforms lives; children are able to study at night, adults are able to earn additional income, and indoor air quality is improved. Our services benefit women who traditionally spend more time working indoors and children who accidentally drink kerosene and inhale its fumes.” – Mera Gao Power
Households that sign up to the services of Mera Gao receive two to four LED lights and a mobile-charging point in their home at a cost of just $0.50 per week, plus a one-time setup cost, which is an affordable price for most of their potential customers.