The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has been spearheading a major national level initiative called ‘Lighting a Billion Lives’ to provide clean lighting solutions to energy impoverished habitations and help improve the standard of living of the bottom of pyramid population. Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), under its Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, has decided to support TERI to establish an innovative techno-institutional model of implementing decentralised Solar Micro Grids to provide clean electricity to around 1,400 households, from the scheduled caste/scheduled tribes and/ or economically weaker sections, in selected energy deficient villages of Jharkhand and Odisha.
In this regard, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between REC and TERI, by Shri Ajeet Agarwal, Director (Finance), REC and Mr I H Rehman, Director (Social Transformation Division), TERI, on December 10, 2014, at the REC office.
Speaking on the occasion, REC’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Rajiv Sharma said: “REC finds itself very proud because it has directed its CSR funds to the most deprived communities through TERI to make clean electricity available to them. This will not only provide lighting to the village community but will also empower the youths and women to run the systems”.
In order to ensure smooth adoption, diversified technology options will be implemented to suit the needs of end users. The objective of this project is to implement solar micro-grids for providing clean lighting and facility to charge mobiles and power small fans (either AC or DC, depending on the suitability to the site and load requirements) and to develop and field test new configurations of micro-grids which are simpler to use and easier to maintain. Each of the decentralised micro-grid will cater to around 20-30 households in un-electrified hamlets or villages to reduce the distribution loss, and one village may have one or more micro-grids.
The villages will be selected from among the districts of Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj and Kandhamal in Odisha and Simdega, Hazaribagh, Dumka and Giridh in Jharkhand. The project will also facilitate livelihood opportunities for the selected entrepreneurs, who will be trained to operate and manage the micro-grids through the “fee for service model” of solar lighting devices in the selected villages. The sustainability of the systems will be ensured through active engagement with the village community and their capacity development and linking all the micro-grids with local level energy enterprise, set up and trained by TERI as part of its Lighting a Billion Lives initiative.
Since 2011, REC has been partnering with TERI on multiple clean energy access projects to implement its CSR programme. Till date, REC has supported the implementation of 126 solar charging stations and 5 solar micro grids across villages in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha impacting more than 32,000 lives of the people. With this project, REC-TERI is expecting to bring an affirmative change in the lives of more than 7,000 people in Jharkhand and Orissa.