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FierceEnergy: OMC & SunEdison to bring power to millions by 2020

SunEdison sets goal to bring power to 20 million people by 2020

SunEdison has announced a plan to bring electricity to 20 million people in underserved world communities by 2020. The project will be conducted by SunEdison Social Innovations, a group whose mission is to help rural communities by developing business models and introducing new communities to help renewable energy sustainable.

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“Billions of people worldwide don’t have access to electricity,” said Ahmad Chatila, president and chief executive officer at SunEdison. “Without electricity they can’t access many of the things we take for granted — health clinics with vaccines, or schools with computers and fans. But by applying a mix of new business models, new technology, and charitable donations, we are tackling the issue head on.”

According to SunEdison, they have already achieved bringing electricity to 250,000 people, and they expect to have that total at 1 million people by the end of 2015.

One of the projects is between SunEdison and Omnigrid Micropower Company (OMC), and has helped bring energy to Indian villages by bringing commercial solar customers together with villagers — by building solar electric mini-grids that serve a dual purpose. In this project, they use the mini-grid to power a cellular tower used by a telecom company and then sell additional electricity to villagers.

“By pairing high credit telecom companies with low to no credit villagers the entire project becomes bankable,” SunEdison explained. “It is a mutually beneficial relationship — the telecom companies save money by powering their telecom towers with cost effective solar energy, while the hundreds of families that live around each tower get access to electricity that can be used for lights, fans and mobile phone chargers.”

SunEdison and OMC expect to build 5,000 of these solar power plants in the next five years — helping more than 10 million people.

SunEdison has also partnered with SunFarmer in Nepal to help bring a similar program to remote hospitals, health clinics, and schools through a rent-to-own program.

“To date, SunFarmer and SunEdison have positively impacted 250,000 people to date through this program and are set to expand to geographic regions beyond Nepal,” the company said, “with the goal of bringing electricity to 7 million people by 2020.”

SunEdison also plans to bring electricity to underserved customers through new technology, including their Outdoor Microstation – a “stand-alone power generation unit that provides renewable and reliable electricity for a variety of off-grid applications in hard-to-service remote areas” – which is now available for deployment.

“These systems can be deployed quickly — in less than a day, a village that was dark the night before can experience electricity by sundown,” Sun Edison explained. “As an added benefit, the Outdoor Microstation protects against rising and fluctuating diesel fuel costs.”

SunEdison is also helping by donating their services and electricity in different areas. They have donated a total of 344 kilowatts (kW) to 28 schools and clinics.

“Bringing electricity to 20 million people by 2020 will require not only new business models, new technologies, and charitable work, but also partnerships. We all benefit when we work together. At SunEdison we’re committed and engaged, and we want to magnify our efforts by connecting with others who are equally engaged.”


Written by Jaclyn Brandt for Fierce Energy

Read original article: SunEdison sets goal to bring power to 20 million people by 2020

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