We envision a low-carbon future for rural India


    What are the objectives behind providing solar energy?
    The Climate Group envisions a prosperous low carbon future. Energy being fundamental prerequisite to growth and development, ensuring access to energy through clean sources will invariably drive low carbon initiatives. Investment in solar, therefore, has multiple objects. It propels growth and development by assuring access to clean energy and reduces our dependency on fossil fuel and thus reduces toxic emissions. It drives a new wave of entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, thereby boosting economy. In addition, it helps people to improve the standards of their lives, particularly people from poorer section of the society.

    How does The Climate Group contribute to improve the lives of people living in rural areas? In what geographical areas, the group is providing solar energy?
    The Climate Group’s initiative, ‘Bijli-Clean Energy for All’ promotes access to clean rural energy in India. The project contributes to improve the lives of people living in the rural areas of the country.

    Bijli programme has given us evidence that people having access to solar energy have indicated improvement in their overall productivity, family health and many parents have reported that their wards are performing better in schools. Our projects currently span across Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. We deliver this programme by working with local delivery partners across three different off-grid electrification models (hand-held lights, home-lighting systems and micro-grids).

    This project aims to identify sustainable off-grid renewable energy business models and address the challenges of scaling up clean energy solutions to benefit large numbers of people by developing viable financial mechanisms. Also it aims to benefit Indian businesses and communities to help lead and benefit from the emerging global low carbon economy.

    What are your ongoing projects? Kindly share details.
    The first project executed by us in India was the LED Street Lighting Project. In 2010, we launched the LED pilot project in Thane, Maharashtra – an effort to build awareness about LED, to enlighten the public about its benefits and give visual proof of the improved quality of LED light.

    Under this pilot project, we have converted 273 streetlights in Kolkata Municipal Corporation area into LED. Our joint monitoring report with municipal officials reflect a sound business case, with more than 50 percent energy savings, reduced maintenance cost and social acceptance. Since then, we have extended technical support and advisory to municipal bodies in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Surat, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Cuttack and Haldia.
    The other mainstream project is Bijli- Clean Energy for All, which is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery (World’s second largest private charity donor) and implemented by The Climate Group in India. We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the lives of rural inhabitants in India by deploying renewable energy technologies and improving infrastructure quality.

    How successful have you been in reaching out rural people?
    Our initiative has now reached over 33,000 people in India, and is on its way to achieve the goal of connecting with 50,000 Indians by the end of 2015.These 33,000 people have now access to clean energy, enjoying the benefits of Bijli today and most importantly setting the backdrop to a vibrant low carbon future for India. On the other hand, while 33,000 rural households are covered under this initiative, we are in the process of expanding and reaching out to other rural villages.