Delivering affordable clean energy across rural India
Enterpreneur Rustam Sengupta Sector Energy Geography New Delhi
India is a vast country, with an immensely diverse geographical and cultural character. Even though the country is on the path of economic growth, a majority of its population does not have access to something as basic as clean and reliable energy. As of 2012, it has about 80,000 non-electrified villages. A majority of villages lie in very remote regions with harsh terrains, and hence they are not suitable for developing grid infrastructure. Given the situation, most people are dependent on Kerosene and wood to meet their energy needs. Typical household energy expenditure varies between 4-8 dollars every month. As a result, such regions typically suffer from problems like low productivity, low literacy rates and health related issues. The only economically viable approach for such regions is to generate energy using decentralised solutions. With abundance of solar energy throughout the year, solar technology is a wise bet. But one of the major challenges which hinder the promotion of solar energy is its high capital cost requirement.
This challenge can be easily overcome with the support of financial institutions, especially banks. Through financing, a customer may avail loan where his EMI is equivalent of his average monthly expenses on traditional energy sources. For financial institutions to extend loans, they need to be confident that the system will last beyond the loan period. Hence, it becomes mandatory to integrate after-sales service support into the product package.
Boond has in the past two and a half years already setup three energy centers (servicing units) and sold over 6000 products impacting the lives of over 50,000 people. Some of the states that Boond will be operating in over the next five years are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The cumulative population of these states is over 100 million with nearly 30% still living in un-electrified or badly electrified conditions.