Solar Power Brings Windfall To Rural Shopkeepers And Flour Mill Owners In UP
Power outages no longer affect small business owners in villages of Uttar Pradesh who have installed solar panels for uninterrupted power supply, and have reduced their monthly electricity bills.
Laraib Fatima Warsi 21 Aug 2023 1:57 PM GMT
Sandeep Verma who has an electronic store in Maruadih village in Varanasi, is tinkering with a table fan that has come to him for repairs. “I can work uninterrupted now and do not have to pull down the shutters of my shop everytime the electricity goes off, which is often,” said the 24-year-old.
Earlier this year, Verma got solar panels installed at his village shop, which has not only boosted his business but also increased his monthly savings on electricity bill.
“Ever since I installed solar panels, I can work all day. I have been saving up to Rs 2,000 a month,” he told Gaon Connection.
Power cuts in his village sometimes go up to several hours at a stretch. But such outages no longer affect his work of fixing electronic items that require continuous power supply.
Like Verma, a number of shopkeepers and small business owners in rural India are adopting solar energy to meet their power demand and cut down on their expenditure on grid supplied electricity.
Over 60 kilometres east of Verma’s village in Varanasi, in the neighbouring district of Mirzapur, Gopal Singh has an ice cream factory in Niyamatpur Kalan village. Singh’s already installed solar panels at his factory in 2021 but he wants to install additional panels as he is realising the monetary benefits of using solar power.
“Setting up solar panels at my ice cream factory has been beneficial to me. It cost me Rs 3,20,000 to have those panels but thanks to them, I pay far less for electricity bills,” he told Gaon Connection.
According to him, his factory’s electricity bills were anything up to Rs 20,000 a month before the solar panels were installed. But now, he nearly saves Rs 14,000 per month, and pays only Rs 6,000 as electricity bill.
This way he has already recovered the cost of solar installation, and is now ready to add on more solar panels to bring down his monthly bill to zero.
Loom Solar Pvt Ltd, a start-up in Faridabad, Haryana, that manufactures solar panels and lithium batteries has been instrumental in many young and small businesses in Uttar Pradesh becoming self-reliant and steady. The ISO-certified company is a recognised startup by the Government of India.
“Since 2018 Loom Solar has generated around 50,000 consumers across India and now we are happy to reach the small business owners of Uttar Pradesh,” Nishi Chandra, head of marketing in Loom Solar told Gaon Connection. “It solves the problem of power cuts and reduces electricity bills,” he said.
Chandra said that the total number of solar panels installed in the state of Uttar Pradesh is 8,227 so far.
The solar panels are normally set up on the roofs of buildings. Sometimes, if there is no space they are installed near the buildings in an empty space. Solar panels are placed side by side so that the energy generated through the sun is stored properly in the battery.
Deepak Kumar in Akhtyarpur Dhaukal village in Shahjahanpur district in Uttar Pradesh also uses the Loom Solar panels in his flour mill. He has been doing so since 2022 and his entire mill runs on solar energy.
“Since I started using solar for the work in my flour mill it has become easy on my pocket,” 40-year-old Kumar told Gaon Connection.
Setting up 32 Loom Solar panels for the flour mill cost Kumar Rs 7,75,000. His mill only uses solar for its functioning, he said.
“I am saving around Rs 1,000 a day as I do not have to buy diesel, and I am seeing considerable profit in my mill too ever since I began to use the solar panels,” said the happy miller.
Kumar said that it may take him another three to four years to recover the money he invested on his panels, but he is confident it will happen. And after that it will only be profits.
A number of flour mill owners have adopted solar panels. Miller Meghraj Saini from Shukrullah Pur village in Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh is one of them. “Earlier when I used diesel for the engine, I spent Rs 800-1,000 per day. I am saving that money now that I have the solar panels,” he told Gaon Connection. Saini spent Rs 8,00,000 to install the solar panels in 2022. There are a total 28 panels installed in his mill.
For Vinay Gangwar, the fact that he does not have to spend every day on diesel to run his flour mill in Kaimganj, Farrukhabad is a windfall.
Gangwar installed the Loom solar in August, 2021. Ever since, he has been saving up to Rs 1,000 a day, he said.
“Electricity supply in our state is poor and I spent Rs 7,20,000 on the installation of solar panels. I save Rs 30,000 every month and since using solar panels, it has become easier,” Gangwar reiterated.
According to a May 2023 report by New Delhi-based CEEW (Council of Energy, Environment and Water), the number of livelihoods that can be impacted in the entire country through decentralised renewable technologies is over 37 million. Of these, the highest potential is in the state of Uttar Pradesh with 5.5 million.
The report also highlighted that solar-powered grain milling machines can impact 1.9 million livelihoods in the country.