Odisha’s Baripatha Became the First Village in the State to be Powered Entirely by Solar Energy

India is faced with the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth while dealing with the global threat of climate change. The elevated thrust on renewable energy compared to traditional fossil fuel power is also becoming a new trend in India.  

One small village of Orissa has new learning as far as renewable energy is concerned. With a population of over 36 million people, Orissa’s rural landscape consists of many tribal villages, distinct from traditional Indian culture in language, customs, and average income. The region’s tribal communities are among the poorest in the nation. Solar-powered lighting has a tremendous impact on the lives of rural people without electricity. In both quantitative economic terms as well as qualitative lifestyle conditions in India.  

Baripatha Village

Baripatha village in Odisha on October 2nd this year marked a life-changing transition. A tribal village about 25 km southwest of Bhubaneswar made history by becoming the first village in the state to be powered entirely by solar energy.   Baripatha is located about 25 km southwest of Bhubaneswar. The village has 61 households, and a population of just about 350 people.  

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Image source: Planetcustodian  

Many solar projects elsewhere in the country have floundered and failed but Baripatha is different. Its model is low-cost, low-maintenance, and community-owned – elements that are missing in other solar-powered projects. “This model can be replicated all over Odisha to provide power to its nearly 3,900 villages,” says senior IPS officer Joydeep Nayak, the prime mover behind this initiative.    

The Rs 7-lakh project, co-funded by ECCO Electronics (a solar products manufacturer) and Jakson Group (a diversified power solutions provider), has put individual solar units with two lamps in each of the village’s 61 households, along with a central one-kilowatt unit that powers eight street lamps, and an LED television set and a TV set-top box for the community center.  

Video source: ZeeNews  

“Till now, in all rural solar projects, central units would supply power to households. Often, the exposed cables would be tapped by some, while others would draw more than their shares. This would cause the central unit to overload and trip,” says Jakson’s executive vice-president Sandip Ghosh. By providing individual units to each household, these problems have been resolved.  

“The entire village has been involved in the planning and execution. Village mukia Narayan Hisa along with a local ITI diploma holder, Epil Kumar Singh, are responsible for the maintenance,” says ECCO CEO Vivek Bihani. “The only maintenance required is regular cleaning of the solar panels and, in case of the central unit, ensuring that the water levels in the batteries are at the optimum mark. It is actually zero-maintenance.” (Source: TOI)


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