Why solar? Why now?
Solar’s moment is now. The reality is millions of Indians are still without electricity, leading to restricted living standards and opportunities in rural and urban areas.
Energy demand grows, while prices surge. India is crying out for a clean, locally available and cost-efficient energy fix. It’s time to get behind solar!
Local solar projects offer a real solution to these issues; providing the light by which people currently living in partial darkness can socialise, study and connect with the world.
And these issues are not limited to rural areas. With pressure on the Government to keep costs down and eliminate the massive grid failures which plague major cities, we are seeing cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly solar power projects springing up everywhere. The SolaRise movement has begun!
Current estimates suggest we are using just 0.5% of India’s potential solar capacity.
The change is already happening. From solar-powered airports, railways, temples and cricket stadiums, to tiny villages with no electricity access - a solar India is rising.
A generation of people from across Indian society are coming together to power this solar revolution, united by their passion for change. And there is so much more we can do. Current estimates suggest we are using just 0.5% of India’s potential solar capacity.
Activists, volunteers, politicians and members of the public are working together to show that solar energy represents our best chance of a cleaner, brighter India.
Read on to find out about some of the inspirational projects which have been happening, and how you can join the SolaRise movement.
"I get numerous calls from people asking about using solar - the scope is immense and more and more people are switching to solar,"
- Fr. George P A, Director at Holy Family.
Holy Family Hospital is a rapidly developing Delhi hospital. With growth though, comes the challenge of spiralling energy costs. As they expanded and introduced new departments, the hospital faced a 20-30% increase in their yearly electricity load. So they were keen to explore ways to generate an alternative and cost-efficient means of power. Working with our team via a series of solar workshops, the hospital installed and unveiled a brand new 300 KW solar rooftop grid, which feeds straight into the mains, in addition to solar water heaters and LED lights replacing their conventional ones.
The savings began immediately - their electricity bill fell by Rs 1.5 lakh in the first month and the solar panels now provide about 30% of their total power. With these savings, the hospital is able to spend more on crucial infrastructure development and improving services.
"The Sun's energy is abundant and free; why not tap into it? I get numerous calls from people asking about using solar - the scope is immense and more and more people are switching to solar."
says Fr. George P A, Director at Holy Family.
"I believe solar energy will help us build a happy future, because once we have access to affordable and clean energy, we will progress as a nation together."
- Shiwang, Volunteer
At the vanguard of this movement are our heroic volunteers. Together, they are helping to take our message to all corners of India, creating a buzz around solar. Whether creating visual actions like the Delhi Bike-a-Thon to bring the issue to the attention of Government, or taking to the streets to talk to members of the public about solar street lights across the country, our volunteers have given their time, energy and dedication to the cause. And all in their spare time, for free, because they feel passionately that solar is key to building a more sustainable India. Awe-inspiring!
Volunteer Shiwang reflects on his experience,
"Even six people with the right mindset can change things. That’s the power that non-violent direct action gives you. I believe solar energy will help us build a happy future, because once we have access to affordable and clean energy, we will progress as a nation together."
The micro-grid in Dharnai powers the 450 homes of the 2,400 residents, 50 commercial operations, two schools, a training centre and a health care facility.
What can the power of the sun do? Something incredible!
Dharnai village in Bihar, one of India's poorest states, is now lit-up by a Greenpeace India solar-powered micro-grid. Enter the village and you'll see electric poles all around. The solar micro-grid supplies the electricity for homes, street lighting for roads and lanes, and water pumps.
The 100 kilowatt (kW) system powers the 450 homes of the 2,400 residents, 50 commercial operations, two schools, a training centre and a health care facility. A dependable power supply has boosted the local economy, and brought a welcome improvement to the social life of the villagers.
The improved quality of life of Dharnai residents has become the talk of neighbouring villages, all eager to understand and replicate the Dharnai model. The story of the Greenpeace micro-grid project is inspiring for many and illustrates how, in a country like India, universal energy access can be achieved without compromising the environment with coal pollution. With an electricity system in place after 30 years of waiting, Dharnai now has all the elements to build a strong local economy, and their success shows a way forward for thousands of other villages everywhere which have been left behind.
There is a story here that goes well beyond India. Hundreds of millions live without electricity. For them, the Dharnai solar-powered micro-grid could be a game-changer, a model for bringing clean, reliable energy to millions who are currently cut off from power and opportunities.
Hundreds of Delhi-ites participated in our first ever Bike-a-Thon to mark World Environment Day and generate electricity.
In the summer of 2013, we campaigned to bring renewable energy to Delhi. India’s capital faces long and severe power cuts each summer and depends on other states for its power needs. The solution? Solar energy!
Through community engagement with several Resident Welfare Associations and intensive political lobbying, we got thousands of people to tell Sheila Dixit, the then Chief Minister to introduce a solar power policy for the city. We also made sure that Haroon Yusuf, Delhi’s Power Minister at that time could use solar power to light up his house by gifting him solar panels.
Hundreds of Delhi-ites participated in our first ever Bike-a-Thon to mark World Environment Day, generate electricity and literally, Switch on The Sun! Through this campaign, we embarked on a journey to make India’s capital, Delhi, a truly self-reliant and world-class city!