India and Alternative Energy


India is the second most populous country in the world, with a whooping 1.21 billion people living in it. China is number one with 1.35 billion. For that reason, India is one of the biggest energy guzzlers in the world.

Recently, top Indian official, India’s Rural Development Minister D. M Vara Prasada, urged his country to invest more in alternative energy sources. The Minister was speaking during a workshop called ‘Renewable Energy Sources and their interconnection with power grid’.

According to The Hindu, Mr. Prasada said subsidies are necessary to promote alternative energy since conventional, fossil fuel types are running out. He knows that for this country to prosper, clean, renewable energy types are the best bet.

Lots of Indians would agree with the Minister. According to a census estimate, in some regions of India the vast majority of people rely on kerosene, LPG, and other toxic fuels for lighting purposes. The same situation is found in developing countries of Asia and Africa.

India has over 120 million school-going children and more than 70% of them still depend on oil lamps and this issue needs to be addressed at the earliest.

In order to tackle the problem, Dr. Ranganayakulu Bodavala, a Harvard alumnus and founder of Thrive, an NGO that works to give tribal people more access to technology, developed a series of LED-based solutions to address a range of home and institutional lighting needs for rural areas. As part of the project, he created Thrive Energy Technologies Pvt Ltd, a limited company to manufacture these LED LIGHTS on a large scale.

The lights are distributed through OneChildOneLight, whose mission is to provide every child in India with a study light that is “bright, not polluting, dependable and economical by the year 2014.” And so the LED Study-Light (pictured) for children was born.

Emerging LED lighting technology is semiconductor-based and presents a simple solution to the problem. With the white LED revolution it is possible to provide a simple light suitable for reading purpose that consumes less than a quarter watt but provides 10 to 50 times more useable light than a wick lamp.

LED Lights such as the LED Study-Light can give long hours of light with simple reliable and re-chargeable NiMh batteries which can be charged through any popular mobile charger or through solar. This light replaces Kerosene lamps, reduce carbon emissions and protect people’s health against toxic fumes. Anyone can help by donating one study light to a child, or a set of lights to a school.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

  • Puja

    This indeed is a great initiative taken by Dr. Ranganayakulu Bodavala which would not only help in curbing the pollution but also would increase the literacy rate in developing countries like India .I, being a volunteer myself from Greenpeace would like to appreciate such initiatives.

  • Suresh

    I concur, India has tremendous potential in terms of investments and return on it. However, like anything else India has to come up with creative ways to attract foreign investment, eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic red tapes that stands in between the growth etc.

    India definitely has the advantage of low labor cost comparatively and abundant talent to mention a few.

    I look forward to seeing India as an emerging leader in this area and set an example for other developed and developing nation to follow.