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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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Economic Times: Rockefeller Foundation pledges $75 million to light up 1,000 villages

NEW DELHI: The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a $75-million, or about Rs 467-crore, rural electrification programme for bringing clean power to a million people across one thousand villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar over the next three years through mini-grids.

The programme, ‘Smart Power for Rural Development’, aims to install 150 solar-powered mini-grids by the end of 2015, 500 by the end of 2016 and the balance in 2017 in villages which have either no or less than 10% of coverage by the national grid.

New Delhi-based Smart Power will partner energy service companies (ESCOs), telecom tower operators, investors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and government agencies in implementing this project.

“Rural electrification is littered with philanthropy. But these ESCOs are for-profit. We’re not yet ready for the for-profit only model. That’s why we have this hybrid or blended solution at this point of time to kickstart the microgrid model,” said Judith Rodin, president at The Rockefeller Foundation.

The foundation would provide bridge loan financing to the four ESCOs -Tara Urja, OMC, Desi Power and Free Spans — in addition to providing them techno-commercial support, facilitating their agreements with telecom companies and aligning it with the government’s overarching policy.

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