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Rampura is in Bundelkhand - district Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. This village had no electricity till 2008. Development Alternatives partnered with Scatec Solar to set up a Community Solar Power Plant (CSPP) to electrify Rampura. DD Solar 23 India, which works under the banner of Bergen Group, provided the technical support by donating one television and a computer to Rampura. Along with this, Bergen Group is also paying for the salary of the computer teacher.
The approach followed to set up the Community Solar Power Plant is ‘Build-Own-Operate-Transfer’ (BOOT), wherein the ownership of constructing and operating the solar power plants rested with the village community itself. The concept of ‘Pay for Energy’ was introduced to the villagers to ensure financial sustainability of the plant. This pilot project of decentralized energy generation has been successful at the community level and is now capable of being replicated in other areas and context as well.
Based on the domestic load survey, it was decided to install an 8.7 kW solar power plant. The CSPP has polycrystalline solar panels with 3 strings consisting of 20 modules each. Each module contains 50 cells. To secure 3 days of continuous power supply (during days with no sun), 24 (two Volt) batteries of 2500 Amperes are used. The power station has two inverters of capacity 5 kW each supplying power of 42 Volt (DC) to 220 Volt (AC) and one 9 kW inverter charge controller. For distribution, the mini-grid is supplying single phase 220 Volt (AC) power for the household, community and enterprise use. The Community Solar Power Plant generates 950 kW of energy per month. The average consumption is 840 units. Thus, this solar power plant is running at 90% of its full utilization capacity. The project started with installation of 8 street lights, which has increased to 13 street lights.
With this initiative, the consumption of kerosene oil has reduced drastically and the solar power generated is supplied for household lighting, fans and entertainment/educational purposes (TV, radio, computers, etc). Also there is one flour mill in the village which is running successfully through solar power. Rural electrification has opened new avenues for enterprise development Plant.