“Waiting for light”
Will off-grid solar fix India’s energy problem?
The sky above northeast India looked like mango skin. It was late afternoon in May, and across a constellation of villages, deliverymen worked to unload their solar-charged lanterns from trucks and bicycles before nightfall. They leaned into dung-and-straw huts, calling, “Lantern, lantern.” They passed the devices to women in colorful saris, to bucktoothed kids, to men in sweat-stained undershirts, lingering while the customer made sure the lantern worked, head angled and skeptical.
“Power backup solutions for rural telecom towers”
A new renewable energy distribution model for telecom towers located in off-grid rural areas is beginning to emerge as telecom companies make a shift from diesel-based backup systems. Under this model, micro renewable energy plants are set up by renewable energy service companies (rescos) with telecom companies as their anchor clients. While the model offers an assured source of income for the resco, it provides power access to rural communities.
“Bringing power to one and all”
A pre-paid model and wireless set-up has benefited OMC Power but on-ground execution remains a challenge.
In 2010, three former Ericsson employees teamed for a small and innovative, albeit challenging, business idea in an area where the government, with all its financial and managerial might, had failed for years. The trio planned to supply electricity to the unreachable – technically called off-grid consumers – in nondescript rural areas. Their aim was to replicate the telecom model, which had transformed the lives of millions in the hinterland through wireless mobile telephony, in the power sector.