Improving access to reliable electricity in villages in rural Andhra Pradesh

Improving access to reliable electricity in villages in rural Andhra Pradesh

India Window India Resources and Clean Energy Completed

65%

35%

Partner contribution

$ 900,000

DFAT contribution

$ 500,000

Icon Total Funds

Total Value

$ 1,400,000


Start: October 2018 - End: June 2020

Partners

Village Energy

Village Energy is a renewable energy technology company helping rural communities access reliable and more affordable electricity through advanced technology.

The Rural Development Trust

The Rural Development Trust is an Indian non-government organisation committed to the progress of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, particularly women, children and people with disabilities, in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Trust works in 3,713 villages with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty among rural communities and empowering them to improve their quality of life.

About this partnership

This partnership aims to improve access to reliable electricity for communities in Andhra Pradesh, and to create an economic and social model that delivers significant community development benefits that can be replicated elsewhere.

Access to reliable electricity is essential to help alleviate poverty and to enable communities to grow. There are more than 800 million people in rural India, many of whom lack access to regular electricity. Bringing dependable and more affordable energy to communities will help improve the local economy, enable businesses to thrive, and improve living conditions for villagers, particularly women who are often negatively impacted by unreliable sources of power.

Under this partnership, 600 households in up to three villages will be fitted with a smart device, connecting each household to a software platform that will manage a microgrid, improving the reliability of the electricity supply, and reducing the cost of electricity production and distribution through a mix of renewable energy, artificial intelligence, software and blockchain technologies.

Village Energy will lead the initiative. The Rural Development Trust, with its strong presence in Andhra Pradesh, will support with community engagement. This partnership deepens cooperation on solar research and reduces technology costs, while strengthening relationships with key business and private sector actors in Andhra Pradesh, a priority state under Australia’s India Economic Strategy (IES).

This partnership creates shared value by improving the living conditions of households connected to the microgrid. By ensuring 600 households in Andhra Pradesh have access to more reliable electricity, these households will have greater control over their power supply and its cost by enabling them to choose when and how much electricity they need. Community entrepreneurs will be able to provide wider services and local jobs will be created for those installing and maintaining equipment.

The partnership also brings economic benefits to its partners, including improved supply for utility companies. Running the pilot program across three villages will enable Village Energy to test the viability of the microgrid and create an economic and social model that delivers significant community development benefits. If successful, this model can be replicated elsewhere.

Gender

Women are disproportionally impacted by lack of access to reliable energy. When the power is off, they are usually the household member who goes out to gather bio-fuel and water, and perform their duties manually. This often comes at the expense of other activities including education or earning an income that would give them greater empowerment and choice. Under this partnership, it is anticipated that the availability of reliable energy will reduce women’s household workload including tasks such as collecting wood and gathering water. Reliable power also has a significant grass-roots impact on safety. Community lighting around public toilets has a direct and powerful impact on the safety of women and girls.

Additionally, this partnership will employ three women electricians, and around 180 female students will participate in teaching programmes led by international guest lecturers and gain practical experience in areas such as energy audits and technology usage in the community.

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