Project launched for green, affordable lighting in rural India

June 4th, 2009 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) To make life easier for millions of rural households who use the polluting kerosene lamps in their homes, a Britain-based NGO has partnered with a global power company to supply brighter, safer and more affordable solar lamps in India.
The Shell Foundation has teamed up with D.light Design, a lighting and power company, to deliver affordable and high quality lighting solutions to rural households living without adequate electricity in India, the partners said in a joint statement Wednesday.

The project is being initially rolled out in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, the statement said.

The funding from Shell will be used as risk capital for jumpstarting micro financing partnerships, and for testing market education activities through grassroots and market education campaigns.

The solar lanterns designed and manufactured by D.light are available in two variants priced between Rs.800 and Rs.1,600.

The Nova Series consists of all-purpose portable lamps that are up to 10 times brighter than kerosene lanterns and provide up to 32 hours of lighting, it said.

The Solata is an ultra-light and high quality task lamp that provides up to four hours of bright light. All D.light lamps use the world’s most efficient LEDs, are up to 50 percent more efficient than fluorescent lights and can be easily charged with individual solar panels, says D.light CEO Sam Goldman.

“Communities in rural India who have no access to reliable and affordable power sources are forced to rely on kerosene lanterns and diesel generators. Both are expensive and contribute to air pollution.

“It has been our mission to provide clean, safe and affordable lighting to rural homes that do not have any access to a stable light source. Our partnership with Shell Foundation will enable us to effectively promote our products amongst the rural poor and connect them with consumer financing,” Goldman said.

“We aim to provide clean source of light to 10 million rural homes in India by the end of 2010,” he added.

The problem is further heightened in rural communities, where grid coverage is sporadic and often doesn’t exist at all.

Shell Foundation analyst Simon Desjardins said: “Renewable energy technologies represent the best option for poor consumers in most rural markets in India primarily because of their lower cost and usage flexibility relative to government grid extension schemes, kerosene lanterns, or diesel generator sets.

“They also leave a markedly smaller carbon footprint compared to those options, and when taken to scale will help Shell Foundation achieve its goal of seeing global development challenges tackled through enterprise-based approaches. We are excited to help D.light implement new mechanisms to provide access to clean energy in a commercially viable way for some of India’s poorest consumers.”

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