New Delhi: Samuday, the ambitious CSR project of HCL Foundation, has invested Rs 30 crores over the last one year to set up 14 solar mini-grids in 15 villages in UP’s Hardoi district to supply uninterrupted power to 900 underserved rural households. It has also committed to spending Rs 3 crore every year over the next five years to maintain these grids.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion on ways to effectively use solar power to energize India, especially rural India, Alok Verma, Associate Project Director, HCL Samuday, shared details about the mini-grids project. He said: “HCL Samuday is working in collaboration with the Government of Uttar Pradesh on a solar electrification program in three blocks of Hardoi district, namely, Kachhauna, Behendar and Kothawan. We believe our solar power projects in 15 villages have the potential to transform the lives of thousands of beneficiaries from poor socio-economic background. Our efforts in solar energy are in line with the Government of India’s vision that 40 percent of the country’s needs should be supplied through renewable sources.
Alok Varma added: “We at HCL Samuday believe that supplying solar energy to underserved villages will have massive impact on several allied areas too. This includes improving the functioning of healthcare facilities and educational institutions, allowing greater access to potable drinking water by powering underground pipes, supporting agricultural practices by powering mini water pumps, and increasing means of livelihood by powering processing and refrigeration systems for use by fisheries, milk suppliers, etc.”
More than 70 high-profile stakeholders in India’s renewables energy sector attended the roundtable hosted by HCL Foundation, including Mr. Vishal Bharadwaj, CEO, Dalmia Bharat Foundation; Mr. Abhimanyu Sahu, COO, Schneider Electric India Foundation; Mr. Bishal Thapa, Managing Director, Saral Urja Nepal Pvt. Ltd.; Mr. Pradeep Kashyap, Founder, MART; Mr. Samit Mitra, Director-Program Implementation, Smart Power India; and Mr. Gaurav Kumar, Co-Founder & Director, Claro Energy.
Some key issues addressed at the roundtable included establishing sustainable business models to address India’s energy crisis, developing an entrepreneurial mindset among local communities so that they are able to expand and run solar grids without external help, and creating an eco-system to foster economic development. Speakers shared their experiences from working in the field and discussed ways to strengthen solar electrification programs through collaborations between corporates, the Government and non-profits.
HCL Foundation’s Samuday project aims to develop model villages in Hardoi by focusing on improving six parameters: Infrastructure, agriculture practices, livelihood, WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), health, and education. The Solar Electrification program, a major initiative undertaken by Samuday as part of this project, aims to ensure non-disruptive supply of electricity in underserved villages, especially to health centers and schools.