Solar Agro-Processing Power Stations

About

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.

Champion
Stewart Craine, Managing Director, Village Infrastructure Angels

About
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.

Barriers Addressed

  • 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.

Approach
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