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Women will help distribute solar energy in NOIDA

n an effort to meet burgeoning energy needs, Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL) is building a 1 MW solar power plant and will enrol the support of women self help groups to distribute the output generated through the plant.

To be set up in Surajpur village in Greater Noida, the plant is part of the NPCL's effort to fulfil the Ministry of Renewable Energy 's mandate for procuring 4% of the total energy purchased from renewable sources.

"Today, solar energy is almost twice as expensive as electricity, but we will not have many alternatives in the future. We are trying to generate renewable energy through our own solar power plants rather than depending on outside sources," Samarjit Mohanty, manager, operations with NPCL told this newspaper.

The power distribution utility has drawn out a three-phase module to encourage the use of solar energy. In the first phase, six of NPCL offices and substations will be converted into solar facilities. "The solar power plant is part of the second phase, while in the third phase we will proactively propagate the use of renewable energy," he said.

In a separate programme, NPCL has collaborated with a Delhi-based NGO, Development Alternatives, to train women SHGs to act as "channel partners". The NGO will train these women as part of its literacy-to-employment programme, in which they will be given basic literacy and life skills and later vocational and enterprise development training.

According to Mohanty, in the long run, women trained under the programme will be involved in collection and meter-reading. The idea of enrolling their support is to facilitate community distribution. "We are in the process of training these self-help groups that will, in subsequent phases, come to distribute power on a cost sharing basis," he said.

The rural enterprises will be managed by women SHGs, while targeting micro level distribution to facilitate this change. "Our aim in collaborating with local groups is to distribute a part of the energy production to the rural consumers during peak hours," Mohanty added.

"As part of the programme to offset conventional energy patterns, these women will become the green ambassadors of change," said Vijay Chaturvedi, programme director with Development Alternatives.

Six NPCL offices and substations, namely those in Container Depot, Girdharpur, Hatewa, Kasna, Surajpur and Udyog Kendra, will run on solar power and the saved energy will be diverted for the use by consumers.

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