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Wall Street Journal: Renewable Energy Powers Up Rural India

Solar startup Omnigrid supplies remote villages, relying on income from telecom towers

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Renewable-power companies serving remote areas of India often supply telecommunications companies and villages with solar energy. PHOTO: SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

HARDOI, India—A small field of solar panels on the outskirts of this rural district was built to generate energy for a cellphone tower. Now it also supplies electricity to local residents who have suffered from chronic power shortages for decades.

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Hindu Business Line: Revolution@25kmph

Halfway between the ubiquitous bicycle and pricier motorcycles, electric vehicles are slowly and steadily winning over the rural consumer with their affordability and fuss-free features.

Every morning, in Coimbatore’s Kurudampalayam village, more than 80 battery-operated vehicles go door to door collecting garbage. In this all-woman exercise, one woman drives the Ampere vehicle, while another picks up the waste, neatly segregated as bio-degradable and non-degradable. They make a second round of collection in the evening. The electric vehicles are charged on alternate nights, which costs ₹12 per machine and lasts for a run of up to 50km. No licences are required to operate them.

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Fortune India: Light club – India’s solar entrepreneurs

A clutch of entrepreneurs is taking electricity to the country’s remotest parts on a pay-per-use basis. But can they scale up in a sector that’s still trying to find its feet?

Fortune Magazine on OMC – Light Club

OMC’s MD & Co-Founder Rohit Chandra, photo by Bandeep Singh

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Hindu Business Line: Micro-grid firms look to govt for support

Watching videos of Mera Gao Power always leaves you with a good feeling. They typically start showing a village in darkness and a woman struggling with work in the light of a kerosene lamp and end by showing bright LED lights and smiling faces. Provide solar-powered lights to villages that had never seen electricity, let the villagers pay for it out of their savings on kerosene spends—way to go!

The going was good in the beginning. MGP lit up the first village in December 2011 and by mid-2013, had covered 300 villages. Its NRI-founder, Nikhil Jaisinghani, said in a conference in 2013 that he had a “scaleable model” and 30 per cent rate of return was possible.

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