bringing light to india\'s rural areas
2010 Bangalore, India-
At dusk, children\'s songs fill the air in the Tibetan Children\'s Village of bilukoppe SOS, a 5-hour drive from Bangalore, southern India.
The night falls on the neat stone
A school campus carved from the lush jungle.
But when 20 suns-
The street lights on campus began to emit stable white light.
The 30 dormitories set up in the Coconut Grove are also equipped with solar lights-
The same is true of nearby Buddhist temples.
They allowed 1,000 children to study, eat and play during the evening blackout that often disrupted the lives of refugees
Power supply to rural schools.
Solar company Selco installed these lights in 2003.
Since its inception in 1995, Selco, based in Bangalore, India\'s technology center, has provided solar lighting systems for 100,000 households, most of them in Karnataka.
In the nearby village of Doddhosur, it is about 30 minutes\' drive from D. tibet school. S.
Farmer Shivanna has bulbs in five rooms in his home that are powered by roof solar panels installed by Selco last year.
An advertisement to arrive at the dirt road between the tall corn fields doddhosur has electricity-
But power failures are also common here.
The 15-year-old Varshitha Shivanna said that the advertisement \"there is no current at night\" and she lives in the house with her grandparents.
She used to rely on candles when there was a power outage at night.
But now, with solar, \"we can write down the time we want.
We have to write our homework until 11.
\"Unlike Bylakuppe and Doddhosur, about 70% of Selco\'s customers live in remote areas where there is no electricity at all.
Without electricity, they can only light with candles and kerosene lamps.
About 0. 4 billion Indians lack reliable electricity and live in a world other than bright offices and air --
Shopping malls in Indian cities. A two-
The light Selco home system usually takes Rs 8,500 to 11,000 or $180 to $235-
When 60% of the company\'s customers earn Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 a month, this is a big income.
But Selco has partnered with a number of local village banks to help 85% of customers get financing. The on-
Harish Hande, its partner company, said its solar loan repayment rate was 90%
Founder and Managing Director
Selco\'s efforts are an example of the wider promotion of solar energy in India.
Alternative energy sources such as wind energy, biomass energy and solar energy account for less than 8% of India\'s electricity generation.
However, more clean energy is urgently needed in India.
More than 70% of India\'s oil and gas are imported, and more than half of its power generation depends on coal.
India\'s economy is expected to grow by more than 8% this year, and between 2005 and 2030, India\'s energy consumption is expected to double.
There is a price for such growth.
According to a report by the Indian government this year, in 2007, India was one of the world\'s largest producers of greenhouse gases.
As part of a climate change plan announced two years ago, the Indian government set up an ambitious National Solar Mission this summer.
The mission document requires India to increase its solar capacity to 1,000 MW by 2013 and 20,000 MW by 2022.
These are lofty aspirations given India\'s current grid
According to Amit Kumar, director of renewable technology at the Institute for Energy and Resources, a private research organization in New Delhi, connected solar capacity does not exceed 15 MW.
Farooq Abdullah, Minister of New and Renewable Resources in India, said after the document was released: \"This is just the beginning of a long process . \".
\"This mission is a leap of faith on an unprecedented scale.
Although these goals look challenging,
\"They are very conservative,\" Kumar said.
We can go beyond that. ”Mr.
Commenting on the government\'s blueprint, Selco\'s Hande said, \"Sometimes it\'s good to be ambitious.
But, he added, \"The important question is how to get rid of Delhi --centric policy.
It needs to fall into people\'s hands from Delhi.
According to the government, India has an average of 250 to 300 sunny days per year, and it seems to be very suitable for solar power generation.
However, the industry has not yet taken off due to the high cost compared to conventional energy. Coal-
Power cost 3.
5 to 4 rupees per kilowatt
In contrast, photovoltaic cells generate a capacity of 17 rupees.
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Other obstacles include decentralized financing schemes, lack of strong government policies and incentives, uneven after-sales service, and technical weaknesses in battery and solar lights in harsh conditions in India.
Solar energy will develop on a large scale, he said.
Kumar said India needs to reduce costs by producing native technology, use resources for research and development, and create a specialized agency independent of the central government as an advocate for the department.
More large solar power plants are planned to be connected to the grid.
Nevertheless, given the different geographical locations and income levels in India, solar farms are not the answer.
Other options are also needed, including personal and rooftop solar panels, such as those in the Tibetan Children\'s Village in Bylakuppe. Mr.
Kumar\'s research institute brought new solar LED lanterns to the market this summer at a price of Rs 800 to Rs 1,000, part of its solar initiative, which has reached 30,000 households since 2008.
However, despite the demand and demand for solar energy, even
Established companies like Selco face the same challenges.
In 2001, advertising revenue was flat and profits reached 3.
Rs 15 million in 2005.
However, due to tight supply, Germany\'s large subsidies for solar installations led to a sharp surge in panel prices from 2006 to 2008.
The spike in prices \"almost killed us \". Hande said.
The company lost seven.
RS 5 million, 2008
9 but at 2009-
10 fiscal year, income 3.
8 million rupees, income 0. 15 billion rupees.
Selco now has 150 employees.
Hande admitted that finding skilled employees is the company\'s biggest challenge and a major constraint on the company\'s development.
He said that top graduates in India want to find lucrative and prestigious jobs in technology or business, rather than in the countryside, the income of Selco\'s middle managers elsewhere may be others
But \"The higher your salary, the less chance they will get into the countryside.
Our education system is not socially oriented.
\"This does not seem to apply to Sir.
Handd himself, 41
Graduated from the famous Indian Institute of Technology in harragpur, with a degree in energy engineering and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, he began to conceive Selco during his graduate years after seeing people using solar lights in the Dominican Republic.
Although Selco now has 5% of its business from outside Karnataka
Han did not seek growth in the broader market.
Instead, he wants to focus on low
India\'s income, the poor in cities, and how to use renewable energy to increase its income.
Can, for example, develop a motor that operates using alternative energy sources to power a customer\'s sewing machine or rice milling machine?
\"Where else can we make sustainable energy interventions? ” Mr. Hande asked.
\"It can be in the lighting or in the cooking. If a 1,000-
The rupee intervention in the stove will make a difference and we should do so.
This will surprise Selco\'s future.
\"We want to have a deeper understanding of the formation,\" he added . \".
\"Low geographic expansionhanging fruit.
Let others do it.
\"A version of this article was published in the International Herald Tribune on September 3, 2010.
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