We would like to share some exciting news regarding the ‘Solar Light: Power to People’ project. One of the
leading newspapers of India, The Telegraph, did an amazing story on the project, and we have received overwhelming response from it. Please take out some time to read and also share the story: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120602/jsp/northeast/story_15561399.jsp#.T8okY45Z-lI
After securing a permanent spot on the Global Giving team, we are happy to share that donations are still
pouring in and as of today (20th June 2012) we have raised $ 5,040.Yay!!! We are thrilled with the amazing support that this project continues to receive.
The volunteering project teams in the United States as well as the partners from Guwahati, Assam (India) have
been on their toes laying the preparatory ground work for the project implementation. Several key meetings, video and tele conferences were held to discuss the challenges and to identify cost effective and sustainable solution
and approach. Finally, the team has decided, with substantial inputs from AFNA members, donors and noted local social entrepreneur Mr. Pradip Sharma that the project will strive to create a model solar energy based community center at Garbhanga and the funds will be given to the beneficiaries in the form of a loan.
In its first phase 6 households will be selected on a trial basis for distributing the home light solutions. Also,
after due diligence and proper market research, Electro Plus, a Guwahati based solar lighting products developer has been identified to be the provider. The system that has been proposed is a 10W panel, a 7AH/ 12V battery, a charge
controller integrated with the battery box and two 3W LED lights. If both the lights are used together then the fully charged battery can provide backup for about 12 hours. Each light can be pulled to a distance of about 15 meters from the battery with the help of extra wires without voltage drop. In good light conditions it will take about eight hours to fully charge the battery. There is a 25 years warranty on the panel, 1 year warranty on the battery and 2 years
warranty on the other equipments of the system. The cost of the system is Rs. 3,200 i.e. (approx 75 $).
The villagers will select the households among themselves and the selected household will pay Rs. 300 (approx 6$) every month towards loan repayment, including two months advance. However, if they cannot afford to provide 2 months’ advance then one month’s advance shall be paid. Though the system price is Rs. 3200, an additional 400 Rs (4.5 $), will be collected and paid to a service provider (preferably a local woman) who will be supervising the loan repayment and providing simple maintenance work if needed. The emphasis on a strict loan repayment was stressed upon by Mr. Pradip Sharma. “The loan repayment policy should be strict so that later we don’t have to face difficulties in collecting the money and thus replicating the model.”
In the next few weeks, we expect the 6 households replacing the kerosene lamps with the solar lighting devices. A new journey will begin.