Supporting and implementing sustainable energy projects in rural belts

Given the strong connection between reduction of poverty and access to sustainable energy, Tata Trusts is keen to support and implement replicable energy projects. Preferably, the Trusts is keen to support interventions where the underserved households become owners of assets and not just consumers — leading to a holistic eradication of poverty. The objectives of this initiative are aligned to UNDP and MNRE goals of affordable and clean energy. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy are crucial parameters that can both encourage growth and improve the country’s environment. Access to permanent electricity and clean cooking energy are enablers for good health, appropriate education, livelihood generation, environment prosperity, women’s empowerment and entertainment.

Tata Trusts initiated the implementation of projects involving the use of sustainable energy during 2014-15.

The main objectives of the programme are to:

  • Address the nation’s challenge of providing power on demand and satisfy the energy needs of the rural community.
  • Provide rural households with clean cooking energy to overcome health and environmental hazards caused through using bio-fuels.
  • Empower rural entrepreneurs for providing last mile energy services, besides skilling them to create needs.
  • Conduct extensive research to develop technologies for affordable and sustainable systems, which increase income whilst reducing drudgery.
  • Develop policies and procedures to move towards clean, reliable, secure and sustainable energy supply.

Tata Trusts is implementing and supporting various clean energy projects such as popularisation of solar-based irrigation pumps, facilitating access to energy through community-based off-grid solar systems, facilitating lighting systems for individual homes, installation of rooftop solar systems, popularising clean cooking systems, adoption of biogas, etc. Tata Trusts is also promoting solar-based livelihood generation and supports activities in the sectors of education and health.

Programmes supported by Tata Trusts have facilitated the installation of 1,586 kWp (installed and ongoing) capacity. Of this, 112 kWp comprises the off-grid system, 480 kWp through solar irrigation systems and 1,004 kWp towards livelihood, education, health, etc.

Clean cooking programme: The clean cooking programme focuses on providing quality, improved clean cooking devices for rural households to address issues pertaining to health and degradation of the environment. It attempts to create market demand among the rural communities for the improved cookstoves, and effect a behavioural change to popularise adoption of the stoves as compared to traditional cookstoves. The programme is presently underway in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and about 5,000 improved clean cooking devices have been sold to the community through a private entity (which works on promoting socially impactful products in rural areas), besides community institutions promoted by Tata Trusts. The community institutions provide loans to households to purchase improved cookstoves and encourage them to use the stoves. Technological solutions that ensure the best emission cooking devices for the community, which are aspirational as well as affordable, are being developed through a market-led approach.

Major partners

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  • SELCO Foundation
  • Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre
  • Livolink Foundation
  • Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives
  • Sanjeevani Seva Trust