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25 September 2012

First Solar PV modules to power remote villages of the middle Himalayas

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, and Sir Ratan Tata Trust plan to collaborate on a pilot project to provide safe drinking water and irrigation to rural communities in India's northern Uttarakhand state.

Many remote villages of the middle Himalayas lack roads, health facilities, schools and electricity, says First Solar. In Uttarakhand, many villages that are connected to the electrical grid receive only erratic electrical supply. Without electric pumps, collecting water from springs and carrying it to villages can take three to four hours a day.

First Solar is working with the Sir Ratan Tata Trust to develop a pilot project using First Solar's thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules to help off-grid villages in the region receive clean energy for essential needs such as safe drinking water and irrigation. The pilot project aims to develop an integrated solution that is low-maintenance and simple for the communities to install, maintain and use.

The project, which will be managed under the Trust's Central Himalayan programme (Himmotthan Pariyojana) by the Himmotthan Society, will consist of two solar PV power plants which will be built in the Chureddhar and Chham (Gunogi) districts, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. If successful, the project could be replicated across hundreds of villages throughout India.

Ganesh Neelam, development manager, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, said: "We thank First Solar for partnering with us for the installation of this system, which will help us meet our community development goals."

Anant Naik, First Solar's director of Public Affairs in India, added: "We welcome the opportunity to join with the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Himmotthan Society. They share our commitment to sustainable development, to harness solar energy to provide safe drinking water in order to improve the quality of life for rural households."

First Solar will donate 100 modules to the pilot project, which will combine First Solar PV modules with water pumps to move water from spring sources into storage tanks, benefiting 65 households, with a population of 530 individuals, in the two villages.

Tags: First Solar CdTe


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