Solar power plant in Sunderbans sets up model precedent

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World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in collaboration with the Centre for Appropriate Technology Incorporated (CAT) and Projects Australia is setting up a solar power station in the Rajat Jubilee village in Sunderban area of West Bengal, reports ANI.

WWF official, Anurag Danda said that that they took up this task to address the power woes of the villagers.

“Sustaining these power stations in the remote locations without grid connectivity is quite challenging. CAT, Projects Australia, and WWF India, collaborated and Project Australia tapped into the funds that were made available by the Australian government under the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development Mechanism. It took us about 13 months to work out the details with the community,” he said.

The power station is being managed by the villagers and is governed by a group of council members who take the decisions regarding its maintenance. Currently, there are a total of 57 consumers and solar energy is used to light up 10 streetlights and 3 community building, and everybody still gets 200 watts of power per minute.

The batteries are kept in the power station and are recharged every evening on the payment of monthly rental of Rs 125. Danda added that the villagers were trained to operate the system.

“Community members went through an energy education programme. They are able to calculate how much which equipment consumes and therefore they budgeted for a 24 hour period,” he said.

The villagers expressed happiness due to uninterrupted power supply. “Earlier, due to frequent power cuts, children were not able to study. However, now they are able to study late in the evening. Power generation has made us less dependent on kerosene lamps,” said Pushpa Mandal, a local woman.

The project has become a role model for other villages that reel under severe power crisis.

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