India’s First Solar Village: Dharnai Is Now Power Independent


Dharnai, a village in Bihar has successfully been transformed into India’s first energy independent village that runs entirely on solar energy. Greenpeace, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) introduced the revolutionary model in September last year along with two other NGO’s, BASIX and Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED).

The project is not confined to just lights and fans that run for few hours but is a 100 kilowatt (kW) micro grid that provides power to more than 2200 inhabitants of the village. The electricity generated fulfils the energy requirements of two schools, One Kisan (farmer) Training Centre, 50 commercial establishments including shops, a bank and few government buildings, and 60 street lights. The village also has solar powered water pumps that serve the purpose of irrigation in the fields.

The village was electrified earlier but due to loss of its electricity, infrastructure had become dependent once again on expensive diesel generators till last year. Dharnai is chosen by Greenpeace on the basis of its socio economic profile, demography and accessibility of the village through roads.

This dynamic efforts made by the NGOs are sure to change the lives of hundreds of inhabitants of the village through access to a better living and education.

The new Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi also plans on introducing solar power brightening up the lives of 400 million who currently do not have access to it. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government is keen on accomplishing the National Solar Mission that aims to install 22000 mega watt of solar power capacity by 2022.

The Gujarat Solar Park, a group of solar parks has been developed that delivers 1000 MW of power and saves 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released and 900,000 tonnes of natural gas per year. The park also helps in the prevention of wastage of 9 million litres of water annually.

Being a tropical country, India receives adequate solar radiation for 300 days amounting to 3000 hours of sunshine equivalent to over 5000 trillion kilo Watt hours. If used adequately, the available power can get most of its energy requirements fulfilled by solar energy itself.

With the combined efforts of the Government and the society, every village of the country can be electrified with clean energy reducing the emission of carbon dioxide and dependency on the already depleting coal and petroleum.

Solar Energy is certain to bring a revolution if serious efforts are taken in the desired direction.

Ratanpriya Sharma

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