Renewable energy has played a major role in ensuring that India becomes self-reliant in energy production. Across the country, numerous cleantech startups and renewable energy enterprises are on a mission to bring self sufficiency to remote rural regions through distributed renewable energy (DRE).
Ecoideaz brings you case studies of a select few enterprises who have done commendable work in their field. These enterprises are members of the CLEAN Network, which is a large consortium of various DRE-oriented enterprises across India.
Doorastha is one such CLEAN Member who is bringing access to electricity to the underserved rural enterprises by deploying solar micro-grids in the two rural markets of Jaunpur district, Uttar Pradesh. It is a govt. recognized startup formed with the idea to resolve problems that challenge the sustainability of solar off-grid systems.
Tiwari Ji, a local shopkeeper, is one of their first customers who is availing 24×7 electricity for the past two years. He runs his tea shop using Doorastha’s iLUMY solution (Intelligent Laghu Urja Mapan Yantra). iLUMY consists of a smart metering device, grid controller and cloud-based software technology platform. It was developed and prototyped for monitoring of solar micro/mini-grids in real-time to bring efficiency in operation & management.
Earlier, such small businesses received less than eight hours of intermittent power supply and experienced poor quality with power outages, especially during evenings. They were solely dependent on polluting diesel generators for electricity supply in the evenings. This forced them to redirect 15-20% of their income towards other energy sources such as diesel generators to meet their energy demands. These fossil fuel energy sources were not only expensive, but also caused air pollution.
Intermittent electricity supply, in general, is a major deterrent for the growth of micro-enterprises. “With 24×7 access to electricity from Doorastha’s solar micro-grid, I have now extended my work hours and this has resulted in an increased income which I now spend on my children’s education”. says a relieved Tiwari Ji. His extended business hours have increased his productivity and correspondingly his income by 25-30% with an improved customer retention. He now saves atleast 15% on kerosene, diesel, and health associated expenses. In addition, the fan given by Doorastha reduces his drudgery as earlier he used a hand fan and blowpipe to keep the chulha burning.
With reliable electricity from the solar micro-grid, he now plans to buy a small refrigerator which can store milk products and thereby expand his tea and sweet shop business. Doorastha’s affordable PAYG (pay as you go) financing payment model enables Tiwari Ji to pay according to his cashflow without making the process burdensome for him. The smart meter deployed at his shop helps him to track his energy consumption.
“Doorastha is committed to enabling systems where rural micro-enterprises are empowered through distributed clean energy assets run efficiently and in a sustainable manner, so as to provide a good RoI for the investors,” says Shyamal Datta, Co-founder and Director of Doorastha. The organization is steadily moving towards enabling access to clean energy-based productive loads which would lead to further livelihood generation through cluster identification for services-based manufacturing clusters.