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USAID extends assistance for clean energy

Bangalore, March 4, 2014, DHNS: 2:34 IST
US Assistant Secretary of State for South Nisha Biswal and ORB Energy CEO Damian Miller exchange papers to announce two new partnerships with India, in the City on Tuesday. DH Photo
To facilitate access to clean energy in India, the US Consulate General as part of the United States Agency for International Aid on Tuesday announced two new partnerships in the City.

As part of the collaboration, the USAID has awarded $2 lakh to Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO) Foundation, a social enterprise working toward providing sustainable energy solutions, and to Orb Energy – a clean energy service provider, both based in Bangalore.

SELCO will utilise this grant to establish six innovation labs, besides carrying out research work, which will develop and test sustainable energy solutions and provide free training to officials from micro- and medium-scale enterprises on developing and servicing solar equipment like lamps, inverters, water heaters etc, Ashis Kumar Sahu, Chief Executive Officer, SELCO Incubation Centre.

60 people trained

“We have already trained 60 people from various parts of the country and a similar number of people have also been trained, who were from Africa and every year we will train 60 more,” Sahu told Deccan Herald.

He said the centre will provide solar power equipment at affordable prices to people residing in slums and rural areas without access to electricity. They would also be helped to get loan for purchasing solar power equipment.

The Consulate also inked an MoU with Orb Energy, supporting them a loan guarantee. This will help Orb provide energy to its 500 branches of primarily undeserved communities in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, by 2016.

Damian Miller, CEO, Orb Energy, also made a presentation on the projects it has taken up in and around Karnataka.

Erratic supply

Addressing the gathering, Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said, “We used to study using kerosene lanterns in Gujarat in our childhood. Even now, 40 per cent of Indians don’t have access to power and 32 per cent of the people get erratic electricity supply,” she said.

She pointed out that renewable and sustainable energy projects with SELCO and Orb Energy will help millions of Indian families gain access to affordable and reliable clean energy for the first time.

She added that during the “Energy Dialogue” in Delhi next week, officials, scientists, and entrepreneurs from India and the US will discuss further collaboration on clean energy technology, non-renewable energy and civil nuclear issues.

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