By Rusen Kumar
NEW DELHI: Fortum Amrit Energy Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Finland-based utility company helps to improve the quality of life in the village of Gulabpura Tehsil in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan by providing solar power arrangement to students at schools and villagers. Solar street lights have been installed in the Beed ka Kheda village and solar lamps have been presented to every local family. Fortum has also built solar-powered toilet facilities for students in two adjoining schools – Senior Secondary Government Girls School, Gulabpura and Senior Secondary Government School, Badala.
Under its first investment project in the country, Fortum acquired a solar plant in Beed ka Kheda village in Gulabpura Tehsil of Bhilwara, Rajasthan in June 2013. With a nominal peak capacity of 5 MW and annual production at the level of approximately 9 gigawatt-hours, the plant was constructed as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.
In conversation with Rusen Kumar, Editor India CSR; Awadhesh Kumar Jha, Vice President-Solar O&M, Sustainability and Hydro at Fortum India talked about Fortum CSR initiative and its impact to the community where they works. He talked about how solar energy has improved the school attendance? Edited Excerpt:
What are the Impact of your development works so far?
On February 2014, we equipped three schools from Bhilwara consists of over 1200 students with solar-powered infrastructure, with an objective to meet the schools’ power needs in an efficient and sustainable way. Amidst the heat wave in Rajasthan, where mercury goes beyond 45 degree Celsius, it is a normal phenomenon to see a drop in attendance and sometimes it goes below 50%.
Our effort has brought relief to the lives of these 1200 students. Now, they can study in a better atmosphere. During the summers of 2014, these schools have observed a major improvement, with approximately 95% attendance daily. This initiative has also inherited the sense of energy utilisation among these young citizens, and made them understand the values that solar energy can bring into the society.
How can they help scale this – offering to two three schools is no big deal.
Being a socially responsible company, Fortum took the initiative in February 2014 after which we took another initiative in December 2015 in the same region by providing solar infrastructure to villagers and students. Fortum installed Solar street lights in the village and solar lamps have been presented to every local family. Fortum has also built solar-powered toilet facilities for students in two adjoining schools.
Moreover, Fortum installed solar panels in the primary and secondary schools in Kapeli, Madhya Pradesh, which has befitted 250 students of the school. Also the only clinic in the village received solar panels, which in turn ensures uninterrupted medical aid. Also, Fortum constructed a 10,000 litre water tank in the village that helps the villagers to avoid a daily 6-km walk to the nearest water station and back.
What is the company’s long-term strategy not only in CSR but also Sustainability in India?
As part of Fortum’s corporate social responsibility, we are happy to make a long term commitment to help improve various spectrums of lives with solar energy. We believe solar will drive India’s energy future and hence we are keen to promote the sense of green and clean energy among the people. We have always been inclined towards environment friendliness to be a way of life and thus, our initiatives focus on empowering the community as a whole. We will keep looking at more such initiatives to have a stronger connect with society and build greener communities around our area of operations.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR.
About Author: Rusen Kumar is globally renowned journalist writing on CSR issues. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter Handle: @INDIACSR