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India's sunshine village promotes green energy

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Sunshine village in India is catering to the villagers' needs by providing uninterrupted lights and adding to income substantially.

Modhera is a traditional village mentioned in the scriptures and maintains a rich heritage. This has become India's first village that runs on solar energy.

"During his two-day visit to India recently, UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the model project site in Gujarat state, designated the country's first solar-powered village. He commended villagers there on the shift towards renewable energy, which he said is not only changing lives in the community but also combating climate change," said a UN report praising the move that has turned into a source of renewable energy and a viable income source for the villagers.

This is a very good example of "conversion to a clean, renewable energy source is not only enabling the villagers to run more electrical household gadgets to make life comfortable, without worrying about the electricity bill. It is also becoming a source of income for them," the report said.

The UN report cited certain case studies with actual beneficiaries who called the solar energy move a boon and a major source of income.

"We worked on our farms and used to pay the huge electricity bill for agriculture. But, since solar installation in our village, we are now saving a lot of electricity. Earlier our electricity bill used to come to around 2,000 rupees. Now it is in minus," the report quoted Ashaben Mahendrabhai of Modhera village.

She admitted she had been getting the electricity bill minus after solar installation. She is saving the money she used to spend on electricity, and the excess electricity generated is sold back to the grid, and she gets money in return.

Home to the iconic Sun Temple of Gujarat, Modhera village is approximately 97 km from the city of Ahmedabad in the Mehsana district of Gujarat.

According to the UN report, this demonstration project is expected to provide learning to resolve bottlenecks related to renewable energy. If the project proves to be economically viable, the plan is to replicate it in other rural areas in Gujarat.

The project, with an estimated cost of $9.7 million, is jointly funded by the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat.

"Armed with a large array of solar panels on the rooftops of houses, on Government schools, bus stops, utility buildings, car parks and even the premises of the Sun Temple, Modhera benefits from the six-megawatt installed capacity power plant in nearby Sujjanpura village."

Part of the energy generated by the solar roofs is consumed by the villagers, while the rest is added to transmission grids. The village hardly has a requirement of one to two megawatts; the excess is sold by the villagers.

According to local power authorities, the project has a 6 MW ground-mounted solar power plant. The rooftop systems on approximately 1300 households supplemented ground mounted Solar power plants.

The Gujarat Power Corporation bears the cost of installation of solar rooftop systems free of cost for the entire village.​​​​​​​

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