While much of India, Asia’s third largest economy, recently plunged into blackout darkness, the lights of a small rural village continued to shine due to the arrival of solar power last year, reports Jo Winterbottom of Reuters News. On a humid evening, fans whirr, children sit cross-legged to study and people can actually see what they are eating and drinking. The village was the lucky test case for US solar firm SunEdison, which covered the hefty initial expense of installing hi-tech solar panels there. But rapidly falling costs and improved access to financing for would-be customers could encourage the spread of such systems, while simpler solar schemes are already making profits in off-the-grid areas. Potential growth in off-grid solar power offers hope to about 40 percent of India’s 1.2 billion population. Covering initial costs is key. India’s government is pushing a National Solar Mission aimed at generating one sixth of India’s total electricity from renewable resources by 2020, reports Max Frankel at Think Progress. Under this program, the government offers to pay a third of project costs and in some cases low-interest loans for solar power systems.
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 08:37 AM PDT http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/31/613161/massive-blackout-leaves-620-million-indians-without-power-demonstrating-dangers-of-relying-on-outdated-coal-system/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29&mobile=nc