Foundation Stone Laid For PV Fab In Bihar

Solar Goes Local As Rural Indian Self-Help Women Groups To Own And Operate Small Solar Module Manufacturing Facilities
04:40 AM (Beijing Time) - 17. April 2018
photo waaree IMG_1583

While the Waaree factory, pictured here at their booth during last year’s REI show, is one of the bigger module fabs in India, there are also several very small facilities - among them two newly founded module assemblies operated solely by women.

Key Takeaways

  • Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy Ministry (MNRE) RK Singh laid the foundation stone for a PV module manufacturing plant in Bihar, India
  • The plant will be owned and operated by women’s self-help group federations at the local level
  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS)-Jeevika, the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT), and the Cluster Level Federation of the women’s self-help group members to this effect
  • IIT-Bombay is already helping local women’s self-help groups in Dungarpur Rajasthan in setting up a 2 MW PV module manufacturing plant

Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy Ministry (MNRE) RK Singh recently laid the foundation stone for a PV module manufacturing plant in Gaya, Bihar, in India. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS)-Jeevika, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT), and the Cluster Level Federation of women’s self-help group members.

Located in the Sherghati block of Gaya district, it will be completely owned and operated by women’s self-help group federations at the local level, according to MNRE. The official press release from MNRE did not specify the capacity this factory would have.

While there are not many details available about this facility, premier Indian higher education institute IIT-Bombay is already involved in a “first-of-its-kind” PV module manufacturing plant in Dungarpur, in the state of Rajasthan. It will be completely owned and operated by local tribal women. According to local media, the Dungarpur plant is planned to have a manufacturing capacity of 2 MW with final products ranging from 1 to 300 W.

These steps are part of IIT-Bombay’s Solar Urja program through the Localization for Sustainability (SoULS) system. “SoULS envisages providing local solar solutions for energy needs to the regions and communities where providing grid power in near future is difficult and expensive,” states IIT-Bombay. “The local solar solution includes involving local communities at each level of operation including manufacturing, assembly, sale, and after-sales service, thus creating livelihoods for them integrated with solar eco-system.”

Singh laid the foundation for the Gaya facility while launching a number of other initiatives. He inaugurated a solar lamp assembly and distribution center at Mahuli village in Arrah, Bihar. This too will involve women’s self-help groups at a local level in assembling solar study lamps and distributing these to underprivileged students who live off the grid.

This initiative is part of the Indian government’s scheme to provide solar study lamps in 5 states with low rural household electrification levels. Bihar is 1 of these 5 states, along with Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

 

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