India’s First Solar-Powered Village Pays Residents’ Electric Bills and Then Some
Modhera in the state of Gujarat has become the first solar-powered village in India, setting a precedent for what UN Secretary-General António Guterres called a “reconciliation between humankind and planet,” reported Euronews.
The solar project has provided Modhera’s residents with a surplus of renewable energy at a cost of $9.7 million, UN News reported. The bill for the solar project was split between the Indian government and the Government of Gujarat.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed Modhera to be the first village in the country to be powered by solar around the clock every day, as reported by Euronews. Because of this, residents can save from 60 to 100 percent of their power bills, Gujarat’s government said.
“Earlier, when solar was not there, I had to pay huge amount for the electricity bill — close to 2,000 rupees. However, with the installation of the solar, my electricity bill is now zero. Everything from the refrigerator to washing machine now runs on solar in my house. I am not paying even 1 rupee electricity bill now,” said village resident Gadvi Kailashben, who supports her family through farming, as UN News reported.
Nearly 30 acres of Modhera now have solar and rooftop panels that provide more kilowatts of energy than the village’s residents use each day, reported Euronews.
“There are three major components to this entire project. One is our ground mounted 6-megawatt project. The second is the 15-megawatt battery storage system and the third is the one-kilowatt rooftops installed on 1,300 houses,” explained Rajendra Mistry, the chief project officer of Gujarat Power Corporation Limited, as reported by UN News.
The solar project not only helps with the villagers’ bills, it’s also becoming a source of income, as any surplus power they have can be sold back to the electric grid.
“We work in our farm and used to pay huge electricity bills for agriculture. Since solar installation in our village, we are now saving a lot of electricity. Earlier our electricity bill used to come around 2,000 rupees. Now it is in minus,” said villager Ashaben Mahendrabhai, who lives with her husband and two children, as UN News reported.
While visiting the Sun Temple of Modhera on the bank of the river Pushpavati, Guterres said, “One thousand years ago, the ancestors of those that live today in this village built this marvelous Temple of Sun. And they did it recognising that the origin of all energy that we have on Earth comes from the sun,” as reported by Euronews.
The Sun Temple itself is completely powered by solar energy, including a 3D light show, and its parking area has electric vehicle charging stations, UN News reported.
The UN chief added that, because of the solar project, the village was becoming “more healthy, giving them more prosperity, but at the same time contributing to rescue our planet from a climate change that is still rising without control,” as reported by Euronews.
Last week, the residents of Modhera told Guterres they were glad to be using renewable energy that doesn’t cause damage to the environment.
“Modhera, which is associated with the Sun Temple, will also be known for its strides in solar energy. Big day for Modhera as it takes a giant leap towards harnessing solar power,” said Prime Minister Modi, as The Economic Times reported.