Solar lighting the way

A small ABB solar energy project that started in 2005 in the state of Rajasthan, India, has provided cheap and effective lighting solutions in desert hamlets.  

 ABB teamed up in a public-private partnership with the state government and an NGO to introduce a distributed solar solution for hamlets that were spread far apart. The cost of installing solar panels, batteries and accessories was shared equally among ABB, the NGO and people living in the area.

Following the success of a pilot project in 2005, solar panels have been deployed in several more hamlets, helping 1,100 households and 7,000 people to have access to clean, cheap and reliable energy.

Solar energy has brought a multitude of benefits. The productivity of weavers and tailors has risen by about 30-40 percent as they can now work at night, avoiding searing 50°C daytime temperatures. Charging mobile telephones is quick, and traders can assess market prices and take orders from customers.

The number of children attending school has risen sharply and students can now study after dark; nurses at health clinics can now treat patients at night, and send advice via electrically recharged mobile phone to patients far and wide.

Solar panels have replaced kerosene as a source of lighting in many homes, cutting down the health risks from kerosene and the potential for fires.

In 2013, ABB carried out a survey of the beneficiaries to establish what the impact of the solar panels had been. The biggest economic impact was among people who already had employment. No one wanted to revert to previous sources of power.

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