More than five crore households in India need the offgrid products, said Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary of India’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

New Delhi: The largely untapped market for the offgrid solar products and equipments in India is to the tune of Rs 4000 crore to Rs 5000 crore, said Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary of India’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. He was speaking at a Solar Lantern Press Meet in New Delhi.

According to Kapoor more than five crore households in India need the offgrid products. Open market will be helpful for furthering the cause of solar energy in the country. “We need to eliminate the kerosene lit lamps. Once the consumers start getting more choice in terms of products, not only will the market for solar products pick up but also make the products affordable,” he said.

Lamenting the presence of substandard solar products in the country, Kapoor said such products attract consumers due to their low price but are very poor in efficiency undermining the benefit of such products to the consumers. “The government is on its part taking measures to arrest the spread of such products in the market through various steps,” he said.

“The new government envisions to harness solar power to enable every home to run at least one light bulb by the year 2019 as close to 400 million people in India lack access to electricity. The ‘100 thousand solar lantern project’ is a step toward resolving one of the existing social concerns,” he said.

Reaffirming its goal of allocating 100,000 solar lanterns to off-grid communities globally, Panasonic today in its ‘Solar Lantern Press Meet’ announced the next step towards improving lives of the people residing in areas which have no access to electricity. The company has already allocated 9,000 solar lanterns in India in the last two years and as a subsequent progress, it will contribute 5,006 solar lanterns this year.

Some of the activities planned through this initiative involve allowing medical care service at night to promote healthcare campaign for poor and deprived families, and conduct eco-education classes in the evening for children without alternate sources of light. With an aim to improve the quality of life of the residents in these regions, this project will support economic independence of BPL (Below Poverty Line) people living in off-grid areas and provide telemedicine and healthcare services to people living in rural areas.

Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Panasonic India and South Asia said, “India has an extreme appetite for energy needs and effective distribution of solar power is extremely crucial for India’s power sector and economic development. The ‘100 Thousand solar lantern project’ is an initiative for creating better living conditions for the under-privileged communities by introducing solar LED lanterns and solar home systems that are manufactured in India.”

Commenting on this initiative, Fukuda, General Manager-CSR, Panasonic Corporation said, “This year, Panasonic will donate 16 thousand Solar Lanterns in India, Indonesia, Philippines and other Asian and African countries to help overcome certain challenges in the lives of people residing in the off-grid locations,” she said.

To proliferate the effect of this initiative in India, Panasonic has collaborated with seven leading NGOs including the World Health Partners, Plan International India, World Vision India, Oxfam India, Japan Lutheran Evangelical Association, Bindaas Unlimited Trust, and SARD in the areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Haryana.

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