Making solar energy affordable (UP to make it possible)

solar energy

Even today, about 200 million people do not have access to electricity in their homes in rural India. To address this decisive challenge, it is imperative to establish a symbiotic relationship between IT solutions and energy solutions. In a bid to provide an affordable and dependable energy solution for rural India, Fortum (a Finnish clean energy major) and Futurice (a high-tech software agency) aim to roll out their first ever pilot in India with their proprietary Solar2Go intelligent monitoring platform solution in Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh from March 2018.

Solar2Go enables a rapid upscaling of solar energy based micro-grids. For the pilot roll-out, Fortum has collaborated with Boond, a well-established Indian solar energy player.

Speaking on the occasion, Ninad Mutatkar, Project Manager Solar2Go, Fortum says, “It is imperative for any country, which seeks to achieve inclusive economic development to ensure an affordable and dependable energy solution for those currently deprived of electricity or a reliable solution, to meet desired energy demand. Solar2Go offers local solar companies an innovative and affordable solution that is aimed at propelling faster and cost-effective development, operations, and rapid upscaling of solar energy micro-grids.”

Solar2Go aims at addressing this challenge and seeks to ensure access to electricity at an affordable price to major part of the rural populace. Solar2Go offers a solution for solar companies to secure the payment from end-customers reliably while providing better customer support and operational efficiency. The pay-as-you-go model for the users also by-passes the need for a steep investments, making solar energy affordable and attainable for millions of households.

“A digital solution that can be used without a smartphone adds to the growth of potential user pool, considerably. A conservative estimate of the Indian market is about 20 million households for micro-grids alone. However, Solar2Go is also designed to enable solutions in semi-rural or urban areas with grid interaction significantly increasing its scope and perfectly support the government rural expansion strategy,” said Rustam Sengupta, Founder of Boond Engineering & Development (P) Ltd., the consortiums Indian partner.

“We believe it’s possible to have a serious and positive impact, while doing serious business. Solar2Go has the potential to help slow down climate change, improve air quality in India and help the country meet its Paris Agreement goals, all the while improving access to electricity. Rural markets in many emerging economies - not just India – are ripe for leapfrogging from fossil fuel-based energy resources to decentralized intelligent systems that enable local developers to scale up their business,” said Virpi Vaittinen, Design Strategist at Futurice.

In addition, the Solar2Go solution aims to provide valuable data driven insights to developers and operators of local energy grids as well as academics and policy makers. This would aid in better operational management of projects, intelligence at an end-user level, maintenance alerts, as well as interactions between multiple grids and optimization of the sources of supply and demand. The integrated payment solution enables automating the value chain significantly by allowing cashless transactions, bringing in transparency, as well as real time locking and unlocking of devices in case of default.