Australian firm lights up Indian slums

26-May-2015 #State Policy Source: India Inc

An Australian company has taken on the Solar India challenge with simple portable lights to light up slums in Indian cities.

Pollinate Energy hopes to change the way people in Indian slums use light in the night. Its portable solar lamp, with a port to charge a mobile phone, has replaced dirty kerosene lamps in 8,000 homes.

According to the company, indoor air pollution from kerosene lamps and stoves are the second leading cause of death in the world’s second most populous country, making the Australian lamp a potential game changer.

Pollinate Energy employs locals to go tent to tent to sell the solar lights. The lights cost about $23 each.

The company allows the customers to pay in instalments. It has sold over 7,000 lights in Bengaluru and is expanding to two more Indian cities, the next is most likely Kolkata.

Beyond 2015, the firm has ambitions to be in every tier-one city in India, reaching millions.

Pollinate Energy co-founder Kat Kimmorley said: “Bangalore, the city that we started in, was the first city in India to become electrified over 100 years ago and yet in Bangalore it is only 70-80 per cent electrified.

“What we’ve found is by providing a light, kids are going to school, mums are working in the evening.

“They see opportunity and they have taken the next step to move upwards and onwards.”

An estimated 292 million people in India live without access to electricity, which means they rely on fossil fuels, such as kerosene, for light. India’s Solar India challenge aims to create 100 GW of solar powered energy by 2022.

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