Sep 16, 2008

The Rural Indian Consumer - hungry for energy ?

Another chance encounter with a young enthusiastic person that allows a glimpse into the rural psyche…- this time, its from within the interiors of Bihar – a small village in Vaishali (also near the birth place of Mahavir Jain and Guru Gobind Singh)

The village hardly gets an hour or two of electricity during the day, although infrastructure exists for electricity distribution.

Most people do not pay the mandatory INR 25 for electricity dues per month

People have electrical appliances at homes, which run on ‘batteries’ 6V / 12V cells and which are charged at the local flour shop / mechanics shop, for as little as INR 10 ( 25 US cents) and these typically last for 12 hours of TV playing time.

People in villages have paid up to INR 5000 for getting infrastructure set up. The payments have been made, through borrowed funds from friends or the rich landlords within the villages ( as donations).

The gentleman who I spoke with was quite sure that there is a huge paying capacity in villages, provided the right product is made available. This person is well educated ( having done his primary schooling from the village – according to him, the village school does an excellent job which was contrary to my beliefs) and spoke excellent English. He has stayed in the cities (like Kolkatta and Hyderabad) over the last 4 years and till very recently was employed with a top BPO organization in Hyderabad.

When I asked him – on whether he considers himself fortunate at having made it – with a well paying job (excess of INR 25 K p.m., part of which he religiously sent home) AND if he is planning to do something for his school – his simple answer was an emphatic ‘yes – something very big’ and the look in his eyes conveyed the rest !!

I wonder how many of such people are out there !

And perhaps in ten years from now, how the face of villages would likely change ?

Sep 13, 2008

CleanTech Event in India (Upcoming)

Cleantech Forum Event is happenning in Mumbai, India in Oct - the dates are 7-9th October and one can find more details on the event on the link here..

The event seems promising for all young companies entering the renewable energy area and renewable energy professionals, so do be there...and I promise will keep you posted on all the action there.

Energy is BIG !

I was surfing the net and liked this quote in particular.. wonder what it means to the youth in India..
Vinod Khosla says, “The best brains in the country are no longer working on the next pharmaceutical drug or the next Silicon Revolution. They want to work on energy.”

Sep 9, 2008

Urban poor

I spoke to one of the enlightened community member who professes use of solar power in day to day lives. One of his comments was that if the urban set of customers adopt the use of solar power, the rural poor shall follow. That set me off thinking...

And I went ahead and spoke to some of the residents..notably, it was not the well off residents in the high rise apartment buildings, or bungalows who gave an encouraging response - it was the panwallah and the local vegetable vendor. It was this section who was the most gungho on using advanced technology ( while they may not be aware of the imminent benefits that can follow on global warming and climate change), they were looking at it from a pure economical sense. Today, the poor guy spends close to INR 200-250 on using LPG / other options every month for lighting purpose. Solar Power could achive this purpose for free - albeit at an upfront cost. If only, we could work on a solution for providing this technology for this set of customers. And there are millions of them in India. Any solutions ?

Solar Facts

Folks .. you are welcome to keep adding facts on solar power to educate all visitors / readers..
Here are a couple of them..
# India recieves enough solar power in 2 hrs ( on its land area) that were if tapped completely meet its power requirements for a year.