Published on March 14th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan0
Solar Micro Grids in India (Transformational)
Here’s a fun solar company we haven’t written about yet — Mera Gao Power. Mera Gao Power builds and operates solar-powered micro grids in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s poorest. The result? Indian households get low-cost lighting and mobile phone charging, many of them for the first time.
Specifically, households can buy two to four LED lights and a mobile-charging point for $0.50 per week and a one-time setup cost.
Mera Gao Power can charge a village of 100 Uttar Pradesh households with just four solar panels and four batteries (which can store the solar energy produced for up to two days).
As I noted in my CNBC Energy Opportunities interview last Fall (video at the bottom of this post), cheap and decentralized solar power offers developing countries like India the opportunity to leapfrog outdated dirty energy technologies. This is a prime example of that.
As our good friend Derek Markham, over on TreeHugger, writes:
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.
Mera Gao Power (stealing my term… okay, it seems they must have used it first) writes:
“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 has received funding from USAid to cover the setup of 50 villages in 2012. But, the long-term goal is to power 100,000 households with these solar micro grids by 2016. Impressive. Transformational.
Images: Mera Gao Power