ABB India has announced that it would be expanding its “access to electricity” program to more than 500 households across five villages in Barmer, Rajasthan. Currently, the program has covers seven villages in Barmer, reaching out to almost 1,200 households and impacting more than 7,000 lives.
“Access to electricity" is a demand driven bottom up approach to rural electrification that was launched in 2002. The program focuses on productive use of affordable electricity and promotion of local economic growth. Internationally ABB has undertaken this initiative in Tanzania and Myanmar. ABB India has already been executing this program across 100 villages in Sunderbans, West Bengal in addition to Barmer, Rajasthan. While a mini-grid was set-up in Tanzania, the other locations involved solar PV home lighting kits with charging provisions in these energy dark areas.
In the upcoming expansion in Barmer, each household will be provided a kit that will include a solar panel, two lamps, a portable lantern, wall switches, control unit with rechargeable battery, USB port and adaptors. The feasibility and implementation is dependent on the requirement and use by local stakeholders. ABB trains the villagers extensively in the upkeep of the batteries and the charging patterns for continual maintenance of these systems.
In Rajasthan, the productivity of weavers and tailors has risen by 50 per cent and 40 per cent respectively; they can now work at night avoiding searing daytime temperatures. Children can now study after dark, and the number attending school has doubled in two years. Electricity has replaced kerosene, reducing the danger of fires and easing health problems. The nurse at the health center can now treat patients at night, and dispense advice on an electrically recharged mobile phone to patients far and wide. In addition to similar benefits, the initiative in the Sunderbans has also reduced human-wildlife conflicts as there is now less need to collect fuel wood from the forest, a release from ABB India said.