IndiaCSR News Network
MUMBAI: In continuation of its efforts and commitment towards providing clean lighting solutions in rural regions of the country and beyond, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), under its flagship project ‘Lighting a Billion Lives’ (LaBL), today deliberated on developing pathways and measures to light up 10 million lives by 2018 at its first Convention 2016, which was jointly organised by TERI with DFID and Smart Villages.
The Convention witnessed the presence of Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE); Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE; Dr Simon Lucas, Team Leader, Climate and Development, UK Department for International Development (DFID), India; Dr John Holmes, Project Co-leader, Smart Villages; Dr Madhav B Karki, ED, CGED-Nepal; Co-Chair, IPBES Regional Assessment of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services in Asia Pacific; Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO CEEW; Dr Leena Srivastava, TERI University.
Since its inception, LaBL has adopted an entrepreneurial approach of delivering clean energy. Over the years, it has created a network of around 100 NGO partners, spread across the country. The campaign has enabled the creation of more than 250 Energy Entrepreneurs pan-India, who sell quality solar products as well as provide effective after sales services in their operational areas. These Entrepreneurs have been technically trained and supported to further scale up their business in various other locations.
LaBL has received support at grass root level as well as from various corporates under their CSR initiatives, which will continue till its target year 2018, and beyond.
Reinforcing LaBL’s commitment, Dr Ajay Mathur said, “The LaBL partnership has succeeded in lighting the entrepreneurial fire in thousands of rural households who now provide solar products in their communities. The partnership will now reinvent itself to reach out to ten times as many entrepreneurs in the next three years”
CONVENTION 2016 brought together more than 250 practitioners, donor agencies, academicians, policy makers, businesses and students to promote a dialogue for facilitating closer cooperation on rural energy access, strengthening capacities, delivering a better understanding of the motives and drivers that shape energy policy.
Besides the 100,000 MW of solar power, even small off-grid solar system in places where electricity cannot be reached makes a significant difference, said Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, MNRE. He mentioned examples of individuals working in home-grown cottage industry set-ups whose incomes have increased with the access to de-centralized solar energy. There have been innovations on small scale with the introduction of solar panels, where villagers in Sunderbans for instance, villagers are growing turmeric and ginger in the land under the installed panels, thus ensuring better utilization of resources .‘
Presiding over the inaugural session, Shri Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE said, “TERI has been working on all across the globe. The solutions that MNRE proposes, for example, solar charging stations, were introduced by TERI. The solar lanterns are too are now becoming very popular.”
Talking about the need to scale up these solutions, he added that while the government will continue to provide support to the large market that has developed for the solutions, gradually we must modulate our support in a manner that free market develops, which provides good quality, affordable products with good service. He also mentioned that MNRE is working on a legal framework to ensure good quality of imported clean energy technology in the country.
Sharing his views during the convention, Dr. Simon Lucas, Team Leader – Climate & Development; Energy, Climate & Growth Unit, British High Commission, said, “Government must drive research & development, particularly among rural entrepreneurs. Also, integration of strategy is required between grid connection and off-grid power supply.”
Energy Entrepreneur of Akshat Urja (Mandla District of Madhya Pradesh), sharing his experience with the audience so far said that since the registration of his shop in 2014, he has been able to sell products worth 25-30 lakhs so far.
Thanks to the training imparted by TERI, owner of Jai Vaishnavi Agency, Bihar said that he has supplied 15,000 home lighting systems so far in his area of operation
Through its solar charging stations, solar micro grids, improved cook stoves, independent home lighting systems and integrated domestic energy systems, the LaBL programme has reached to hundreds of communities in 24 states in India with a global footprint in 13 countries in Africa and Asia, which had zero or minimal access to clean energy. Not only did the programme help households with accessing clean energy and lighting solutions, it has created business models by training and empowering Energy Entrepreneurs who provide last mile delivery of these solutions to the end-user.