ACC Cement CSR: Community Managed Solar Power Grid at Belkhor village in Amethi, UP

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IndiaCSR News Network

NEW DELHI: About 20 million households in Uttar Pradesh do not have access to electricity. Despite claims regarding the increasing percentages in electrification of villages, the ground reality remains that  on an average these villages get only 6-8 hours of unreliable supply of electricity daily.

ACC_LimitedDuring the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in October 2013 it was found that these villages receive no electricity between 5pm-11pm. This lapse was also hindering several of the literacy projects led by ACC for the community. As a solution a solar micro grid was installed by ACC’s CSR Team at Tikaria Cement Works at Belkhor village in Amethi, UP.

This grid supplies power to nearly 50  households who pay for it using a prepaid system via their cellphones. This village now has access to round the clock electricity and intelligent theft-free power distribution network. The surplus power also aides village microenterprises. Besides meetingthe basic lighting and mobile recharging needs, the grid allows users to plug in televisions, fans, computers and music systems (up to 100 watt load).

The project created additional opportunities for 3 villagers, one Plant operator and two recharge agents. The recharge agent ensures that a fixed sum of money is deposited into the service provider’s account in advance and gets a limit for usage of solar power. Customers come to him and make payments for recharging their power supply. This has also helped in tackling issues related to over-withdrawal of electricity which are a major challenge in the electrification of remote villages.

The monitoring of the system is done by the Urja committee of the Panchayat which meets every month and includes an official from ACC Limited. The project is being extended to neighboring villages in UP and being replicated in Katni, Madhya Pradesh.

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