Sunderban Rural Energy Project aims to disseminate solar and other renewable energy to people located in Sunderban area who were earlier using kerosene.
The project is innovative as it provides off grid but grid quality powered energy system. The new approach is the use of solar photo voltaic and hybrid wind, locally fed with solar energy. The system is owned and managed by the people who also collect revenue for the electricity services provided to houses.
Individuals ? Children & women can read in night due to better power availability.Society - Incidence of snakebites has reduced because people can see in the night.The provision of refrigeration has made it possible to supply snake vaccine when necessary.Supply of portable drinking water has also improved. Television is now available for entertainment.Environment ? Zero pollution technology using renewable energy sources that do not deplete local natural resources.
Partners: Panchayat bodies and NGOs have been project partners in implementation. The government of West Bengal has provided funding from funds available with Members of Parliament in the state. Internationally funding partners are USAID, World Bank and India Canada Environment Facility (ICEF).The project works through panchayats (village local government bodies) has had a major effect on local communities in Sundarbans. It has created jobs for 400 local persons and has also built capacities of local people who were earlier selling kerosene to these communities ? to monitor and collect payment for energy services.
Individuals and society as a whole have felt that provision of lights has made a vast improvement in their confidence and safety from snakes and other wild animals is greatly felt.Economy ? The economy has benefited from availability of a source of renewable energy. The working hours of women and families have increased and productivity of families has also increased.
The project is sustainable firstly because it uses renewable technology that has no polluting effect and secondly because it has used local persons as its resource and trained them to create an institution that is managed completely by local persons themselves. Micro-level entrepreneurs have also been trained to collect electricity charges from homes. Service provides are also local and people are paying for electricity services to these local entrepreneurs.
The project mechanism and technology have been leveraged through replication in other states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Leh, Ladakh and states in North East India.