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06 July, 2011

India's Rural Poor Give Up On Power Grid, Go Solar

India's rural poor give up on power grid, go solar - Business - Nation - TheState.com: "Boommi Gowda used to fear the night. Her vision fogged by glaucoma, she could not see by just the dim glow of a kerosene lamp, so she avoided going outside where king cobras slithered freely and tigers carried off neighborhood dogs.

But things have changed at Gowda's home in the remote southern village of Nada. A solar-powered lamp pours white light across the front of the mud-walled hut she shares with her three grown children, a puppy and a newborn calf. Now she can now cook, tend to her livestock and get water from a nearby well at night...

... Across India, thousands of homes are receiving their first light through small companies and aid programs that are bypassing the central electricity grid to deliver solar panels to the rural poor. Those customers could provide the human energy that advocates of solar power have been looking for to fuel a boom in the next decade.

With 40 percent of India's rural households lacking electricity and nearly a third of its 30 million agricultural water pumps running on subsidized diesel, 'there is a huge market and a lot of potential,' said Santosh Kamath, executive director of consulting firm KPMG in India. 'Decentralized solar installations are going to take off in a very big way and will probably be larger than the grid-connected segment.'..."


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