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Rs 4 lakh crore business opportunity: Sell solar energy to grids and get richer

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Amidst the time when the experts have started to throw in their contemplations regarding whether the Paris summit in December 2015 will “save the earth”, or will just end up as another Copenhagen, India has come up with a unique business opportunity that sees a target of setting up 100,000 MW of solar energy by 2020.

A senior government official stated that the rooftop solar projects offer a big business opportunity upto the tune of Rs. 4 lakh crore.

“Grid connected rooftop solar power is the most important sector as far as renewables are concerned. This 40,000 MW project requires an investment of up to Rs. 4 lakh crore and is a big business opportunity for all,” said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), addressing a conference in the capital organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

In regard to the system by which people who set up solar power panels on their rooftops can sell electricity back to the grid, he said that there are 20 state regulators who have issued connections whereas 17 states have issued policies for net metering.

Also an objective of achieving 100,000 MW from solar energy by 2020, 40,000 MW of which will come from rooftop solar power, has also been set by the government.

“Taking a systemic approach towards implementing this large and ambitious programme, ensuring it is a win-win for all stakeholders is critically important,” added Leena Srivastava, acting director-general of TERI.

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Solar-Power Inflatable Lights: A New Invention

The company also sells the LuminAID light to customers through their Give Light, Get Light program.

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Solar power system, Pixabay

People need light for daily activities, but in some places in the world, access to reliable power is a problem, and hurricanes and earthquakes can make the matter worse.

Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork understand how important light is to people in need. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Sreshta and Stork, then graduate students in architecture and design at Columbia University, wanted to do something to help.

“We wanted to create something, a basic necessity and we focused in on lighting,” says Sreshta.

As a school assignment, Sreshta and Stork designed a lighting product that was lightweight, portable and wireless and with solar power something that might help improve the safety and living conditions of Haitians.

The result was the LuminAID light. An inflatable plastic, waterproof rectangle light that can be recharged with solar power.

Solar Power
LuminAID Portable Solar Lighting. VOA

What was only a school project for Stork and Sreshta turned into a more serious endeavor when friends and contacts began sending the lights to those in need.

“We made this in our kitchens and we built the first 50 prototypes by hand,” says Stork.

In their final year of architecture school, Sreshta and Stork filed a patent for the portable lamp, which had solar power and shortly after graduating, the two traveled to India and conducted field tests on their prototype.

Solar Power
LuminAID co-founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta. VOA

Stork says visiting villages without stable access to electricity but ready for solar power products was really meaningful to them.

“It helps us understand the houses and the conditions that these people were living in. And what was so interesting is one of the villages that we’ve visited the house was made out of really thick cement, so even in the daytime, it was completely dark inside the house. So we saw a real need for portable lighting,” Stork says.

Also Read: India’s Government Hosts First Ever CSR Awards

In 2011, Sreshta and Stork launched their business LuminAID. They admit that when they started their business, they didn’t know much about disaster relief and humanitarian aid.

“We knew we had a product that could potentially make a difference in people’s lives after disasters like the earthquake in Haiti or even in places where people lack stable electricity,” says Sreshta. “We have been fortunate enough to work with partners like non-government organizations, humanitarian groups and disaster relief organizations which distribute our lights to people in need.”

The company also sells the LuminAID light to customers through their Give Light, Get Light program. And for each purchase by an individual, the program sends a light to someone in need.

“Seeing our lights being used by people around the world creates a mix of emotions for us,” says Stork and Sreshta. “From feeling relieved that we were able to produce and deliver our product, to being humbled by the ability to touch the lives of people we will likely never meet.” (VOA)

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