Modhera in Gujarat became India’s first solar-powered village, setting a precedent for what UN Secretary-General António Guterres called a “reconciliation between humanity and the planet,” according to Euronews.
UN News reports that the solar project provides residents of Modhera with an abundance of renewable energy at a cost of $9.7 million. The cost of the solar project was split between the Indian government and the Gujarati government.
How much do Modhera’s residents save?
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared Modhera to be the country’s first village to be powered by solar 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to the Gujarati government, residents can save 60 to 100 percent on their power bills as a result of this.
“Earlier, when solar was not there, I had to pay huge amount for the electricity bill — close to 2,000 rupees. However, with the installation of the solar, my electricity bill is now zero. Everything from the refrigerator to washing machine now runs on solar in my house. I am not paying even 1 rupee electricity bill now,” affirms village resident Gadvi Kailashben, who supports her family through farming.
Nearly 30 acres of Modhera now have solar and rooftop panels that provide more kilowatts of energy than the village’s residents use each day.
How does the solar project work?
“There are three major components to this entire project. One is our ground-mounted 6-megawatt project. The second is the 15-megawatt battery storage system and the third is the one-kilowatt rooftops installed on 1,300 houses,” explained Rajendra Mistry, the chief project officer of Gujarat Power Corporation Limited.
The solar project not only helps the villagers with their bills, but it is also becoming a source of income, as any excess power can be sold back to the electric grid.
“We work in our farm and used to pay huge electricity bills for agriculture. Since solar installation in our village, we are now saving a lot of electricity. Earlier our electricity bill used to come around 2,000 rupees. Now it is in minus,” states villager Ashaben Mahendrabhai, who lives with her husband and two children.
Modhera’s Temple of the Sun
“One thousand years ago, the ancestors of those that live today in this village built this marvelous Temple of Sun,” Guterres said while visiting the Sun Temple of Modhera on the bank of the river Pushpavati. And they did it recognising that the origin of all energy that we have on Earth comes from the sun,” Euronews reports.
The UN chief added that the solar project was making the village “more healthy, giving them more prosperity, but at the same time contributing to the rescue of our planet from a climate change that is still rising without control.”
Last week, residents of Modhera told Guterres that they were relieved to be using renewable energy that does not harm the environment.