Decentralised Renewable Energy (DRE) has shown remarkable potential as a catalyst for development in India, particularly for its rural population in areas such as micro-enterprises, agriculture, food processing, health, and the built environment.
On February 6, 2023, during his mission to India, IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera led a delegation to the village of Narayanpura near Bangalore where he saw first-hand a wide range of energy access solutions run by non-profit organisation SELCO Foundation.
Through its unique social entrepreneurship model, the NGO provides people with the opportunity to earn a livelihood while driving change in rural communities. During the field trip, the Director General saw a variety of solar powered solutions that are helping micro-businesses, such as pottery making, food processing, and animal husbandry, by reducing drudgery and improving productivity.
IRENA estimates that close to 1 billion people in low- and lower-middle income countries are served by healthcare facilities that lack a reliable electricity supply. Access to reliable electricity is critical for quality healthcare provision, from childbirth to managing emergencies like heart attacks, or offering lifesaving immunisation. At the site, SELCO showcased several DRE-based innovative medical equipment that support maternal, neonatal, and child healthcare in rural and remote primary health centres.
Commending the organisation’s effort in improving lives in the rural community by creating entrepreneurship opportunities, the Director General said that SELCO’s work is in line with IRENA’s ‘Empowering Lives and Livelihoods’ initiative that aims to support innovative solutions aiming to strengthen value chains in the agri-food and health sectors.
“Mobilising and empowering communities around sustainable growth and development is at the core of IRENA’s work. Our learning from the visit will help us accelerate the use of decentralised renewable energy in other rural areas of the world where there are similar needs, especially in African countries,” he added.
He also commended the village entrepreneurs on the shift towards renewable energy, which he said is not only changing lives in the community, but also tackling climate change.
Watch video highlights from the site visit here.