Aurore, India
Solar provides water, lighting and jobs

Don’t underestimate the potential of alternative energy sources. In particular don’t underestimate the potential of solar power. Aurore’s work with photovoltaic (PV) systems across India demonstrates that they are a viable source of energy for local communities.

Aurore is a hub of expertise. Not just technical expertise, but also critical financial and management expertise. By providing such a suite of skills, Aurore enables partner organisations across India to install and operate PV water pumps, solar home systems and solar lanterns providing cheaper, more sustainable energy than diesel-based alternatives.

By 2009 lighting systems had been set up in 17,000 homes. Even more significantly, over 7,000 PV pumps have been installed bringing huge benefits to local communities. In Gujarat alone over 3,000 villages are using PV pumps to provide drinking water or wider irrigation.

Some installations are government-subsidised. However, as Aurore has long-recognised, and as their current support for ‘solar entrepreneurs’ who rent out lamps to street hawkers demonstrates, the long-term success of PV systems ultimately depends on their commercial viability.

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Solar panels powering a rural cultural and drama centre, near Auroreville, Pondicherri. (Photo credit: Martin Wright)
Solar lantern lights a market stall in Chennai. (Photo credit: Martin Wright)
Hemant Lamba