Rediff.com (India): Shell, UNEP to light up 29 villages: “Shell Foundation, from the oil major Shell Group and United Nations Environment Programme, will under a joint programme light up about 1,400 homes in 29 villages in Karnataka by late 2005.” (ShellNews.net) 29 Nov 04
BS Bureau in Bangalore
November 29, 2004
Shell Foundation, from the oil major Shell Group and United Nations Environment Programme, will under a joint programme light up about 1,400 homes in 29 villages in Karnataka by late 2005.
This forms the first phase of the joint solar energy project, under which Shell and UNEP will invest around $0.3 million each over a three-year period.
Senior Shell officials said that around 300 houses across six villages near Bangalore have already benefited from the scheme. Currently, the programme is focussing on a 23-village cluster, which has 1,000 houses. Officials said that nationalised and grameen banks have been roped in to fund the public's share of the project.
They said that typically the bank identified the village and paid out the villagers' share beforehand to Shell India, which in turn fitted the houses with a three light system. Shell usually executed these projects in phases of 50 houses each. After the installation, villagers repaid the banks in instalments, for which Shell India assisted the bank during the collection.
Officials said the 23 villages close to Chengarayarappa near Bangalore will be fully lit up by mid to late 2005. The three-light system will cost Rs 14,500 per household including Shell's and UNEP grants, they said. This is a one-time expenditure, which will allow a family to enjoy free power for 10-15 years.
Besides, Shell India over the last four years supplied solar systems in rural Karnataka and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, where grid supply is highly erratic.
Several districts near Bangalore, have access to electricity for just six hours a day. Shell, along with competitors Tata BP and a few others have tapped this opportunity and upped their rural foray.Shell has 22 centres in Karnataka and 28 in all across the three states.
Installations have crossed 13,000 systems or 700 kilowatts now.
Officials said typically each centre has a target to achieve Rs 75 lakh (Rs 7.5 million) in revenues annually.