2017 Fire Awards Finalist
In addition to being selected as a 2017 Fire Awards Finalist, Solar Agro-Processing Stations was also shortlisted for the 2016-2017 India Lab cycle.
Stewart Craine, Managing Director, Village Infrastructure Angels
1.2 billion people lack access to electricity and other poverty-alleviating infrastructure, such as clean water for drinking, irrigation and affordable housing. Grid expansion is not happening fast enough and barely keeps pace with population growth rates. Pay-as-you-go solar is a recognized solution, but focusses on lighting, mobile phones and TVs. Agro-processing by the off-grid poor is currently either performed by dirty and expensive diesel-fueled 2-5 kW mills, or manually, by hand, often by women.
Community-scale solar-powered agro-processing mills are a clean and efficient solution that frees communities’ time (particularly women’s time) for other, potentially revenue generating, activities.
- Lack of access to finance in rural off-grid areas
- Lack of access to infrastructure and dependence on fossil fuels
- Perceived technology risks of infrastructure.
Centralized community-scale DC power stations of 0.5-5kW are made available to run micro agro-processing mils like rice hullers, corn shellers, flour grinders and more. Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA) map the location of off-grid households and combine this with additional market data to identify optimum sites for deployment. VIA then assess villagers’ demand for 3-5 year lease-purchase financing packages for appropriate technologies. With this demand defined by villagers, VIA pitch the project to impact and clean-tech investors. Real-time monitoring systems enable rich monitoring data and billing.
BNEF On-Stage Pitch
Key Impact Metrics
- Solar power delivered per household: 20-100W
- Increase in agro-processing productivity using solar mills vs. manual processing: up to 2000%
- Number of off-grid households targeted by 2020: 200,000
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Village Infrastructure Angels