Light and Information Access for Sitapur District

Finance microgrid installations to empower households in Uttar Pradesh

Impact

 

SunFunder is proud to launch our first project in India through a partnership with Mera Gao Power (MGP). This $30,000 loan will enable MGP to expand its micro grid operations to an additional 1,250 households in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh, India. 

The projected impact of MGP's microgrid for each connected household:

 

Summary

 

MGP's microgrids connect farflung villages and hamlets with basic access to modern energy at an affordable rate. Microgrids typically can integrate various alternative energy sources, but MGP's is powered by solar energy. Each MGP microgrid installation services 25-30 households at a time and provides much needed lighting and phone charging, which many of MGP's customers are experiencing for the first time. The cost for a MGP customer to get connected is very low: initial one-time setup fee of 50 Rupees (~US$0.80) and 25 Rupees (~US$0.40) per week to continue daily service of 7 hours of lighting and phone charging. 

At every installation, MGP installs solar panels on the roof of a house centrally located within the village. A small battery cabinet is installed inside the house, normally in the corner of a room or on a shelf. From here, distribution lines are run across the village. Customers then have the option of signing up for service, in which case an MGP electrician would install two lights and a phone charger in each home and connects them to the nearest distribution line. It only takes three staff and one day to install a system in a village; by that same evening, families begin receiving service and saving money.

An MGP staff would then collect payments from customers regularly (typically every week) at a predetermined time and location nearby. While technical problems can be reported during payment collection, customers are also provided with a customer service number they can call. MGP staff responds to customer inquiries within 24 hours.

 

Technology

 

MGP's microgrid system can provide access to electricity to an entire hamlet or village for $1,000. Every system is fully automated, low maintenance, and does not require an input supply system to manage. Parts include:

  • Panels. Two 120wp solar panels that are specifically mounted to maximize power generation during the winter months when days are shorter and fog is common. 
     
  • Batteries. Two deep cycle gel tubular batteries for a 3-day battery backup allowing the system to weather consecutive cloudy days.
     
  • Charger controller. The charge controller not only conditions the power from the panels for recharging the batteries, but also has remote timing functionality to control the distribution of power based on time of day. 
     
  • Distribution lines. Three to four aluminum dual core cables, each running a different direction for a maximum of 100 meters, serving up to 10 customers.
     
  • LED lights and phone chargers. Each house is installed with two LED modules as well as a mobile phone charger with pins for charging the most common phones used in rural India.

We would like to highlight that this project has a loan term of 36 months—considerably longer than other projects. As a result, please be aware of the revised repayment schedule before investing.

100% Funded

By 361 People

$0 to go

out of $30,000 Target

This project is fully funded!

SOLAR PARTNER

Mera Gao Power builds, owns, and operates solar powered microgrids in Uttar Pradesh, India serving off-grid villages with high quality, dependable lighting and mobile phone charging services. MGP’s unique model is able to provide service to a typical hamlet for $1,000, making its lowest cost design the first commercially viable micro grid targeted at the rural poor. To date, MGP has served more than 85,000 people throughout 870 villages.

REPAYMENT INFO

Loan term: 36 months

Repayment schedule: Principal repaid at the end of the loan term, but interest in the form of Impact Points repaid every 3 months

Interest rate: principal repayment only

Impact points: equivalent to 3.5% annual interest rate

Aug 2014 - Interest repayment 1
Nov 2014 - Interest repayment 2
� Feb 2015 - Interest repayment 3
� May 2015 - Interest repayment 4
� Aug 2015 - Interest repayment 5
� Nov 2015 - Interest repayment 6
� Feb 2016 - Interest repayment 7
� May 2016 - Interest repayment 8
� Aug 2016 - Interest repayment 9
� Nov 2016 - Interest repayment 10
� Feb 2017 - Interest repayment 11
� May 2017 - Principal and interest repayment 12

LOCATION

Sitapur district is northwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Despite being only 80 kilometers from Lucknow, it takes nearly 3 hours to travel to the Reusa block where MGP began its first commercial installations. Within a 10 kilometer radius around Reusa, MGP has identified 400 hamlets, of which 300 are estimated to be unserved by the national electricity grid. Residents of these villages primarily live in houses made of mud and dung with straw roofs and are engaged in the agricultural sector as farmers or farm laborers. Village average incomes range from Rs. 800 per household per month to Rs. 4,000 per household per month. The average household has 5 family members.