Solar Energy Promoted Rural Enterprises
LEADS intervention on clean energy
Energy is an essential indicator of the development levels of a society. Jharkhand, a tribal dominant, resource rich state yet with 39.1% of its population below the poverty line and 19.6% of children under five years of age malnourished, and 76% rural population shows poor trends in energy access and utilisation as well. With intermittent electricity supply, usage of conventional energy sources, nearly 70% of the population face energy poverty. Thus, energy access and cleanliness of it is of paramount importance to improving the living standard of the people.
India in concurrence to its global commitments, proposed Shared but Differentiated Responsibility and proposed to include 40% of the total energy mix from renewable by 2030. India also took the lead in formation of International Solar Alliance along with France, which aims to share technology and expertise for solar plants as envisages in SDG Goal-13. As of 31 March 2020, 35.86% of India’s installed electricity generation capacity is from renewable sources, generating 21.22% of total utility electricity in the country.
LEADS in collaboration with European Union initiated Rural Access to Clean Energy (RACE) project, to ensure that remotes of regions have access to clean energy. Cleaner sources of energy have associated health, economic and environmental benefits and multiple indirect social advantages. The project is implemented associating with World Vision and VikasBharti, in Khunti, Simdega, Ranchi and Gumladistrcits. Along with making people aware of the importance of clean energy, from schools to PRIs to general public; building and strengthening community institutions; establishing linkages with government schemes on clean energy; he project also aims to create replicable model villages which are based on clean energy.
LEADS before starting the project undertook a baseline survey to understand energy situations in its intervention area. The finds were highlighted in the Situational Analysis Report (SAR). This presented a grim picture of the area. Nearly 90% of the area received less than 12 hours of electricity, more than 60% of the population use wood as energy source for cooking, more than 70% use traditional lamps for lighting their nights.
It began with training of our community mobilisers who in turn mobilised the masses. Commuunity institutions were built at panchayat, block and district levels, who in turn sensitised the public officials and community leaders. LEADS, World Vision and VikasBharti continuously engages with these community institutions to ensure the community is empower to avail their entitlements and linkages with state government run programmes are benefitting the masses.
We have facilitated 16503 tribal and marginalised families to get clean energy supports like solar lantern, smokeless chullha (oven), LPG gas, solar based irrigation pumps, biogas support, solar lighting system, safe drinking water through overhead solar water tank, solar street lamps etc form state government and other sources. The project targets to benefit 500,000 such families in 5 years. Thus, the project has begun strongly and expects to build on it with much penetrating future interventions.
Solar Energy And its Potential to boost rural economy
Decentralised Renewable Energy like Solar Energy has tremendous importance for locations with low energy access and availability. Tropic of Cancer passes through Ranchi, and hence Jharkhand is located in the torrid zone of solar illumination. Thus, it has immense solar potential. It has a solar potential of 18.18GW. Solar energy can ensure lighting the darks of the villages, their households; ensure education of children after sunset, round the clock irrigation and drinking water facility, an energy source to the enterprises, as well as a source of entrepreneurship and livelihood.
Presently in absence of electricity or of its poor quality village life is limited to the nature’s light and dependent on polluting energy sources.
Installation of 5KVA Solar Energy Unit at LEADS Perka Centre
With the objective of promotion of rural enterprise based on Clean Energy a 5KVH Solar energy has been established at the LEADS Training Centre, Perka with the support of UNDP. This power source is used to operate mask stitching unit, sanitary pad stitching unit, ragi flour mill and pigeon pea mill. This unit though was created to provide employment and betterment of lives of the rural masses, but has made significant contribution towards India’s Covid-19 response.
The UNDP supported project aimed to provide source of livelihood to women and adolescent girls who were victims to migration and trafficking for work related problems. They were provided training on stitching and operating solar based sewing machines. They were stitching various women clothing along with sanitary pads when Covid-19 began to infect people and mask became single most effective tool to control the spread of the pandemic.