SCALE has taken solar energy to 63 villages on India-China and India-Nepal border and also set up India’s first solar manufacturing cooperatives
Penetration of electricity is huge challenge before India. Millions of households depend on kerosene and wood for their energy needs. SCALE has brought about several breakthroughs in the power sector. It has taken on initiatives to prove that its passion, and not just economics, that plays a role in bringing about change. Passion, along with functional planning, skills, processes and a performance-oriented outlook was all it took to take sustainable energy solutions to 63 villages across India’s border.
Over the last six years, SCALE has been making rapid progress in solar energy. Back in 2011, it was inducted into renewable energy by none other than the Green Oscar Winner, Prof. Gon Chaudhuri from NBIRT, Kolkata. Since then, SCALE has designed and developed its own efficient, affordable and modular solar lanterns for the rural areas of India. We have also introduced other products like solar street and home lights, solar bulbs and solar mobile charging stations. We have achieved these feats under the guidance and inspiration of Prof. Gautam Bhattacharya, a nuclear Physicist from the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata.
SCALE’s solar energy programs received a big boost in the last 24 months with the setting up of solar cooperatives in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The members of these two cooperatives have been trained in the manufacture, sales and repair of its full range of solar products. We have been relying on quality components, rugged and efficient designs, a skillful workforce, efficient processes and a wide network of support to deliver value for money to the end-users of our solar energy solutions.
Our solar energy solutions rely on a firm social-economic model. By training over 300 unemployed youth and giving them a good stipend, SCALE has opened their doors to getting jobs in the electrical and electronic industry.
SCALE uses the best components like Osram LED, Exide and i-Power Batteries, Moser Baer panels and NG switches in its products. It has ensured a very high performance as well as uptime to the customers. This is in sharp contrast to some of the leading brands where the non-availability of support has caused very high failures.
Early on in our journey, we realized domestic needs for electricity can easily be met by solar photovoltaic through micro production. With advancement of technology, costs have been coming down rapidly, providing the right opportunity for SCALE to venture into solar energy.
We are proud to mention that through the efforts of our team, we have presumably set up the first renewable energy cooperative in the country — Uttarayan Cooperative for Renewable Energy (UCRE). We are yet to find a cooperative in India that has designed its own solar lanterns, solar home lights, solar street lights and is now working on solar inverters.
UCRE has started manufacturing solar equipment in Haldwani. This way, SCALE is not only providing livelihood to locals, but is also doing its own capacity building by selling and supporting its own solar products.
SCALE has so far helped UCRE provide solar lights to over 4,000 homes in the Kumaon region.
UCRE replicated in Uttar Pradesh
Looking at the success of UCRE in Haldwani, SCALE has set up the second cooperative in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. With low penetration of electricity continuing to be a challenge in many states, Uttarayan Cooperative for Renewable Energy and Environment (UCREE) was set up in July, 2016. During 2017-18, we expect to solar light over 2,500 houses through this cooperative.
UCREE will not only manufacture solar lanterns of different configurations but also manufacture solar home lights, solar mobile charging stations and solar street lights.
SCALE has already provided UCREE’s manufacturing staff, an exhaustive training to produce all solar products. UCREE has also applied for ISO certification which will ensure higher efficiency besides documentation compliance.
SCALE lights the way for ITBP in Uttarakhand
From plains to mountains, SCALE has traversed many journeys. Defending the India-China border is fraught with challenges for the Shri. Anand Singh Commandant 36 Bn ITBP, Lohaghat, part of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Tough terrain, severe weather conditions and poor access to electricity and technology are just a few of the struggles for both the border police and the villages in this area.
SCALE, through UCRE, has donated solar lanterns to the regiment, besides providing solar home lights and mobile charging stations and eight computers for 40 villages and three ITBP bases. It has donated over 8,000 school books on Science, Mathematics and English. SCALE aims to further step up its aid in education to remote schools on the border.
In addition, UCRE has trained six service technicians from ITBP in maintenance and repair of solar lanterns, besides providing adequate spares for the most convenient delivery of this uniquely simple but quality product.
Working with ITBP, SCALE is providing the much-needed solution to 40 villages on the India-China border, including the villages of Gow, Sipur, Marcha, Tedang, Bon, Dugtar, Son, Datu, Film and Dhakar amongst others..
Another landmark on India-Nepal border in Uttarakhand
On February 23, 2017, SCALE completed donation of solar lights to 23 unelectrified villages on the India-Nepal border. In an association set up with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which is policing these border areas, 500 solar lanterns have been given for distribution and support in these remote villages. This includes Jaiya, Khera, Ajrena, Kulari, in Champawat district, Nepal Chu, Nabi, Budhi, Garba, Rongkong etc in Dharchula district, Kajaria, Briya, Bankari, Sonha etc under 39 BN and Bodipur, Azadnagar, Nagoria under 49 BN.
SCALE has also trained 14 SSB technicians in repairs to provide instant support to the users in these villages. Adequate spares were given to SSB to ensure quick turnaround for any failures.
As a tribute to the Defence Forces, SCALE will continue to collaborate with border policing organizations to ensure better quality of life in the border villages.
Solar lights power Alambana, SCALE’s women’s self-help group
SCALE has set up Alambana, a women self help group in village Maharajpur in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand. The centre has been operating with solar lights, donated by SCALE. With power supply being extremely erratic, solar lights have made it far easier for women to carry on with their work. Today, these members are efficiently stitching school uniforms and ladies suits through uninterrupted solar power supply provided by SCALE.
Capacity building in solar products
During the last five years, SCALE has trained over 300 unemployed youth in manufacturing, assembly, sales and repair of solar products. This includes six from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and 12 from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). UCRE has also over six service centers in the Kumaon region alone. The first of the capacity building program was carried out under the supervision of the Green Oscar winner, Dr. Gon Chaudhuri. From populating PCB boards, making of cables, producing LED bulbs or soldering, these technicians can do any electronic or electrical industry proud.
Many of these trained technicians have been absorbed by other manufacturing industries while some are freelancers for the solar company’s service and support.
SCALE had also trained 15 youth in the installation and repair of solar water heaters (under the UNDP/GKS/MNRE). We are happy to mention that eight of them are still connected with this profession.
Being an extremely transparent and process-driven organization, SCALE has got an ISO 9001:2015 certification for UCRE. With similar systems as SCALE, efficiency and replication across the two cooperatives has brought about ease of operations. It is now in the process of getting its second cooperative, Uttarayan Cooperative for Renewable Energy & Environment (UCREE) ISO certified.