Several decades have passed since India became an independent country, but several million of its citizens still live in darkness. The centralised grid system has failed to live up to the hopes and aspirations of the people, with those in rural areas being neglected the most.
Until a few months back, the residents of Dharnai were among that majority, living without access to electricity. For 30 years, darkness has been their reality, their story.
But, not anymore.
Since March 2014, the people of this village have been able to leave the past behind. The lights are now on in Dharnai, thanks to a decentralised renewable energy solution that has been installed in the village enabling energy access through a smart microgrid, powered by the sun. The official launch of the Dharnai microgrid is scheduled for July 20.
It has brought immense benefit to the community by ensuring quality power supply to the people. It has been providing secured and guaranteed electricity for domestic lighting, agriculture, business activity and social infrastructures like schools, anaganwadi and health centers.
Reliable electricity supply in the evening has improved educational opportunities for the children in the village. Similarly, dependable power supply has boosted the local economy and brought a welcome relief to the social life of the villagers.
There is a visible improvement in the quality of life of Dharnai residents and that has become the talk of neighbouring villages which are eager to understand and replicate the Dharnai model.
Now, Dharnai is popularly known as the village where the sun does not set. It has become a symbol of hope. It is time for Dharnai to spread the light and become a global model, showcasing new possibilities in rural electrification.
10 July 2014
Now, Dharnai is popularly known as the village where the sun does not set. Photo Credit: Subrata Biswas