Fully solar-powered UP village is India’s first
The sun never sets on Rampura village in Jhansi anymore. The Bundlekhand village is the first in the country to get its solar power plant. It did not have any electricity at all. But now, the kerosene lamps, under which children used to study, have started gathering dust.
The children in the village now study or play under electric lamps in the nights, listen to the radio and watch TV — all because of solar energy. It is an 8.7 kilowatt power plant. Installed at a cost of Rs 31.5 lakh, it provides electricity to all 69 houses in the village. Development Alternatives, a non-profit organisation, in collaboration with Scatec Solar of Norway, gave the village the Community-based Solar Power Plant. Rampura is 17 km from Jhansi.
“In this solar power plant, community partnership has ensured participation of the community from the beginning for their ownership. Use of renewable and clean energy for electricity generation will make Rampura self-sufficient in power supply. A Village Energy Committee has been established,” said Manaoj Mahata, Programme Manager-Energy, Development Alternatives.
It is not just the light; the solar power would soon go into enhancing skills of the local people. A community-based profit oriented flour mill is soon going to start in the village, which will run on solar power. Anita Pal, a resident of the village who also is a member of the Village Energy Committee said: “I plan to begin a knitting enterprise to make money.”
“The Community-based Solar Power Plant pilot project was initiated to test the techno-commercial viability of deploying solar energy for development in rural areas in India. Its aim is to establish a model that is easily replicable and can facilitate a rollout of CSPPs on a large-scale across India,” said Mahata. More villages are keen to have similar power plants.
Norwegian Minister for Environment and International Development Erik Solheim inaugurated the project. Solheim, an Indologist, told the villagers: “Your village draw its name from Lord Rama. And you will fight the demon of darkness (neglect, underdevelopment and backwardness) with the sun.” The plant was inaugurated on January 26.
Amit, a Class 5 student, said: “I am happy that the light has come to my school and home.”