The Community Solar Power Plant project in Jhansi district, Uttar Pradesh illustrates how the use of solar energy through participatory processes can transform rural India.
In January 2009, addressing the need to harness alternative sources for electrifying rural villages, Scratec Solar, a Norwegian company, partnered with Development Alternatives (DA), an Indian non profit organisation, to pilot the Community Solar Power Plant (CSPP) project in two villages: Rampura and Gopalpura in Jhansi district, Uttar Pradesh.
The initiative uses solar technology and emphasises participatory processes for electrifying villages. A Village Energy Committee (VEC) was formed and trained to operate and maintain the solar plant locally.
The project boasts of a unique consumption based tariff structure which simply follows the principle of ‘pay according to your usage’. Villagers willingly pay the variable cost which depends on the units they consume.
CSPP has changed the lives of villagers in Jhansi. With a new, environmentally friendly source of electricity, entrepreneurial activities are undertaken, students can study for extra time, the streets are well-lit and safe, and women can engage in extra income generating activities like sewing.