In a green push, the Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, has inaugurated a solar photovoltaic (PV)-based electrification program focusing on delivering clean, affordable, and reliable energy to those residing in remote, rural areas of the state.
The solar PV-based home lighting system is a green initiative of Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) and Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA). CESL is a subsidiary of the state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
The project aims to electrify remote areas in the smallest state of the country with an area of 3,702 square km through renewable energy where grid connectivity is not feasible.
This project is CESL’s first off-grid electricity engagement that will install and maintain solar PV systems for five years under the ‘Remote Village Electrification’ program of the Government of Goa. CESL will undertake the project across villages and hamlets of Goa in coordination with gram panchayats (village councils).
Commenting on the drive, Chief Minister Sawant said, “We will achieve 100% electrification for all homes in Goa, that too with clean energy. We have made policy decisions for Goa to transition to a green state in a fast and concerted way. I congratulate GEDA and CESL for their good work.”
The initiative is also a boost to the Indian off-grid solar market, which has seen a 48% year-over-year dip in sales in the second half of 2020. The semi-annual sales and impact report by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association noted that sales in India have been on a downward trend since 2018.
Mahua Acharya, Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Director, CESL, said, “I commend the government for assuming a whatever-it-takes attitude to achieve 100% electrification. Access to energy is a basic need across all sections of development, and we are happy to be making this happen.”
In December 2020, GEDA had invited bids for installing solar home lighting systems in the state. The solar systems were to be installed under the ‘Remote Village Electrification’ program. A total of 151 power conditioning units, six solar home lighting systems, and 58 solar streetlights were to be installed under the drive.
In March this year, Goa had signed a pact with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit to develop a state energy plan for a 100% renewable energy roadmap under the Indo-German program on ‘Access to Energy in Rural Areas’.