The hard reality of off-grid solar in Bihar

By Natural Group:

Daily wager Bijendra Sao is fussing about at Exhibition Road in Patna to shop for his daughter’s dowry. The doting father wants the best that he can afford—a solar panel that can power two compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and a table fan. What better gift to give in a state that suffers perpetual power crisis. And what better place to shop for but the world’s biggest off-grid solar market that does an annual business of Rs 500 crore.

Sao is spoilt for choice here. This one-kilometre road has numerous narrow bylanes that cater to the energy needs of people with all pocket sizes. Solar lanterns and streetlights, besides panels of all makes and sizes, are hoarded in matchbox-sized shops. A 75 watt panel can cost from Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,000… Read more

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