Oorja Development Solutions India Private Limited
We are a project developer of renewable mini-grids in off-grid and underelectrified areas in India. We install solar PV and hybrid solar/biogasification smart mini-grids of 10–50 kW to power irrigation pumps for farmers, SMEs in the agricultural value chain (grain mills, cold storages, dairy chilling) and low-income residential users. Our competitive advantage is in rapid deployment of standardized mini-grids packaged into a shipping container and in powering productive loads to generate higher revenue, while stimulating the rural economy and creating new jobs. In the future, we expect to scale up our operations through a franchise model, where local entrepreneurs operate and maintain the mini-grids. This will reduce the payback period and allow rapid scale-up in India and other geographies in Asia-Pacific and Africa. We deliver technical training for mini-grid operators and entrepreneurial training to women to help them integrate into the energy value chain.
SMEs benefit from powering machinery and extending their working hours while saving on diesel cost and increasing income up to 55%. Availability of reliable power stimulates new businesses to open and creates jobs. Smallholding farmers can access irrigation water fro solar pumps year-round. This reduces the cost of irrigation by up to 30% compared with diesel-powered pumps. It allows them to increase crop yields by up to 25%, grow multiple crops, doubling their income. Other beneficiaries are BoP household members who rely on kerosene for lighting; they will benefit from lower cost, safety and greater convenience of modern energy through cross-subsidy. Women and children will benefit most from household lighting, leading to better educational outcomes, health benefits and improved safety.
We are a women-led initiative and endeavour to engage women all along the energy value chain, from training them as plant technicians and payment collectors, valorising their labor through agroresidue collection, and prioritising them in delivery of training and capacity building programs to spur entrepreneurial opportunities. Youth and the under-employed will also benefit through job creation in new businesses and training of new entrepreneurs and technicians.
In 5 years, we plan to deploy 500 mini-grids, which would enable us to power 10,000 small rural businesses and small-holding farmers and directly or indirectly impact the lives of over 1.5 million BoP community members. By extending operating hours and enabling use of machinery to increase productivity and increase income, we will contribute to creation of 15,000 jobs in new and existing businesses. We will also save over 150,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.