Bhubaneswar: IFC, part of the World Bank Group, has launched a consumer awareness campaign to promote the benefits of quality-verified off-grid solar products. The campaign, called SuryodayTM – Zindagi Non-stop, in partnership with solar product makers and distributors d.light, Devidayal Solar, Frontier Markets, Dharma Life, Signify and Sun King is being carried out across2,500 villages in five Indian states – Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
The campaign, which will continue till September 2020, emphasises that daily life need not be impacted by erratic grid power supply if quality-verified solar products are available as and when needed. It points to the wide range of such products in the market including solar lamps, solar home lighting systems which can simultaneously power multiple lights, fans, and TVs and stand-alone solar-powered refrigerators. It also stresses the importance of ensuring the products are quality tested and have a warranty. The products promoted in the campaign undergo rigorous testing as defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) testing frameworks and have passed the Lighting Global Quality Standards.
“IFC’s Lighting Asia/India Program is helping stimulate the market for quality-verified off-grid solar products that offer a real and sustainable alternative to consumers. We have embarked on a consumer education program to sensitise end-users about the availability and benefits of quality solar lighting and energy products to increase adoption,” said Anjali Garg, Program Manager, IFC’s Lighting Asia/India program.
The villages were selected on the basis of a host of parameters such as access to grid electricity and piped water; access to finance and asset ownership patterns; the existence of paved roads, ration shops, common service centres, schools, Anganwadi centres, post offices, and mobile network coverage in the area. In Odisha, the campaign is starting from Bolangir and Sambalpur. It will reach the selected blocks in Jajpur, Kandhamal, and Sundergarh, districts by the end of 2019.
The campaign uses a van, that is specially designed to look like a home-on-wheels. It is lit with a solar home system and solar lanterns. The van travels in the identified villages to demonstrate the benefits of quality solar products. A film is screened in the van depicting real-life situations where solar products can make a positive impact in a beneficiary’s life, such as a mechanic working after dark using a solar lighting system, small entrepreneurs meeting deadlines despite power outages, women carrying portable solar lights feeling safer on the streets at night, children studying or playing under such lights and more.
Interactive street plays (nukkad nataks)and other entertainment activities are used to engage with the audience and underline the message of the campaign. Separate meetings are held with women’s groups and school children to ensure the message of the campaign reaches these audiences. There are also components of the campaign designed to engage with retail and feeder markets. Each element of the campaign has been designed to increase awareness of quality-assured solar products. It also provides a toll-free helpline.
IFC is one of the world’s largest financiers of renewable energy in developing countries. It facilitates financing and advisory support for grid-tied renewables and energy storage, while also improving people’s access to modern off-grid energy services.