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KVGB to Light Up Rural India with “Solar Villages” Project

May 28, 2009

Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank is planning to convert 80 Indian villages into “solar villages”, covering an estimated 10,000 houses under the project by the end of 2009.

Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB), headquartered in Dharwad, is now looking forward to develop 80 villages as “solar villages”, as reported by Business Line.

Under the project, KVGB is to cover 10,000 houses in these 80 villages by end-2009. The bank is set to provide finance for 85% of the cost of solar light units and buyers may choose the company for purchasing solar lights according to their choice. So far, KVGB has financed nearly 12,000 solar lights worth Rs 18 Crore.

According to UN Environment Program official, more than 100,000 villagers in Karnataka have benefited in past five years, following the initiative taken by banks to offer loans at low interest rates on the purchase of solar lightings.

The bank is further planning to set up farmers’ clubs in the villages selected for the project, keeping in view the need for maintenance of solar light systems. The members of farmers’ clubs will not only be responsible for the maintenance and repair of solar lights, but will also create awareness among the villagers about the project.

The project of KVGB is aimed at enabling people to invest freely, without depending on government’s involvement. Till now, despite being the most appropriate option from the economic perspective of the villagers, solar home systems have remained far away from their reach, largely due to little or non-availability of finance.

Leading research firm RNCOS, in its latest report “Indian Solar Energy Market Outlook 2012”, has stated that India, being a tropical country, represents enormous potential for the solar energy market as nearly 45% households (mainly rural) in the country are not able to access electricity till date. Moreover, the demand of solar products has been growing at a rapid pace over the past few years and is projected to grow substantially during 2009-2012. The total number of solar lanterns, in particular, is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 40% during the period.

According to a Research Analyst at RNCOS, “The project of Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank is really going to be a boon for Indian villagers as besides providing several health and social benefits, the project will boost job opportunities in factories manufacturing solar panels and other related products.”

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