In India, where nearly 300 million people lack access to electricity, small-scale solar power is expanding . . . but the growth has less to do with a changing climate and more to do with changing lives.

Family posting under solar light
A family posing under their solar light in Halliberu, Kundapur (source: Selco website gallery screen capture).

Hande: “For many people it’s not only increase of work hours. It’s also a much better quality of life for the future of their kids.”

That’s Harish Hande, co-founder of Selco, a company that sells small-scale solar systems in some of the poorest and most rural parts of the country. The systems can power a few lights, phone chargers and small appliances – enough to make cooking, sewing, and kid’s homework much easier.

Hande says for many of his clients, the decision to invest in a system is driven by the desire for a better future.

Harish Hande

Hande: “It’s very human in terms of our philosophy that it’s a value that we are proposing.”

But the systems make financial sense, too. Hande says to pay for them, people can get small loans from regional banks. The payments are roughly the same as what they would otherwise have spent on kerosene and candles.

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And because the batteries last six years, and the solar panels twenty, he says they’re a great long-term investment … Proving that sustainable energy can provide social – as well as environmental – benefits.

Reporting credit: Colleen Pellissier/ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Selco-India website
Electrifying India, With the Sun and Small Loans
Partners in Power Solutions
Rise of the mini-grids: Solar projects are lighting up households beyond reach of main electricity grids

Topics: Energy