SunEdison has said it will install 241 kW of PV micro-grids with battery storage in 54 remote Indian villages, bringing electricity access to 7,800 people living off-grid.
As part of the Indian government’s decentralized distribution generation scheme administered by the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited (APEPDCL), SunEdison will build, operate and then transfer the facilities to the public within five years.
"Rough terrain and limited road access make this project the most difficult rural installation SunEdison has attempted to date, but it isn’t just about logistics or economics for us; it’s about creating positive, long term social and environmental impact as well," said Pashupathy Gopalan, president of SunEdison Asia Pacific. "More and more businesses and organizations are understanding that this triple bottom line approach is working, and they are joining us in bringing clean energy to those who need it most."
SunEdison also announced a new grant to enable 200 salt farmers in the Little Runn of Kutch area of India to purchase solar water pumps, which will be used by families to pump brine and ultimately to produce salt. The salt farmers have been using diesel powered pumps, but rising diesel fuel prices have eroded their income and driven many of them into poverty, the company said.
The grant was made to the Grassroot Trading Network for Women, a not-for-profit company promoted and owned by the nearly 2-million-member strong Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India.
SunEdison will begin construction of the mini-grids in October and plans to commission them by March. Capacity building and installation of the solar water pmps will begin in November. Both projects are part of the SunEdison Eradication of Darkness (SEED) program, an initiative funded by the SunEdison Foundation to bring sustainable energy to the billions of people globally who lack the electricity critical for healthcare, sustenance, and education.
In neighboring Pakistan, the Lahore-based microfinance institute Buksh Foundation and the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in India oversaw a similar project. Working with national and international partners, they electrified 72 off-grid villages in Pakistan’s Punjab province last year.