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US solar firms brings power to Indian villages for first time

SunEdison and MEMC programme set to bring electricity to almost 30 villages In India

The solar programme will give Indian villages power for the first time
The solar programme will give Indian villages power for the first time

Indian villages will have power for the first time thanks to US solar firms. Missouri wafer manufacturer MEMC Electronic Materials, and its subsidiary group, Californian solar energy provider SunEdison, have announced a rural electrification programme set to give electricity to 29 villages in India’s Guna District.  

Through the programme, called Eradication of Darkness, SunEdison will design, install and manage distributed-generation solar power plants, to provide energy to Indian villages that have never before had access to electricity.

Ahmad Chatila, president and chief executive officer of MEMC, said: "This program is making electricity accessible to citizens in India who have never dreamt of having it in their homes or workplaces. We have the opportunity to improve standards of living by enabling sustainable changes in the lifestyles, health, education and community affairs of thousands of people. We are excited to be the catalyst for this kind of remarkable transformation.”

The programme will be implemented in stages. There are 29 villages in the Guna District that have been identified for the next phase. Appropriate financial and other partners are being sought to electrify these remote communities.

MEMC and SunEdison designed and engineered the Meerwada project in 2011 as a pilot-case for rural electrification. The additional 29 planned villages in the Guna District are expected to be funded through a combination of government grants and private funds from other investors and corporations.

Implementing the next 29 villages is intended to test and develop a successful business model that will enable the electrification of even more villages around the world.

"The day-to-day challenges faced by people who do not have electricity are beyond imagination to many of us," Chatila said. "Being able to improve people's lives is an honor, and we are committed to continuing this effort in collaboration with the people of India."

SunEdison said it has become a solar power leader in India, with over 50 MW of interconnected solar electricity in the country. The company's projects range from small rooftop installations to South Asia's largest solar field in Gujarat.