Solar ATMs fuel rural revolution in India

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An Indian startup is catalysing a quiet revolution by designing, developing and installing unique solar-powered ATMs in rural areas, states an IANS report.

The initial lot of 400 solar ATMs, aptly called Gramateller (‘gram’ means village), the world’s largest order, placed by the State Bank of India (SBI), has been winning accolades for performance and substantial energy savings.

The ATMs were installed in 2010-11 across several states, usually within 20-50 km of the district headquarters, Vijay Babu, CEO of Vortex Engineering, which makes these units, said.

Following SBI’s success with solar ATMs, the Catholic Syrian Bank also placed an order for 50 Gramatellers and Indian Bank for 20, while 10 more have been ordered by other banks, he added.

Both Babu and Lakshminarayan Kannan, who founded Vortex, are the alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and the brains behind the Gramateller.

Vortex was recently selected as the latest entrant to Business Call to Action (BCtA), a global initiative that encourages private sector efforts to fight poverty, supported by the UN Development Programme, among others.

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