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I wish to launch a social enterprise that will help India's remote villages (off-grid rural
areas) to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) with a project that is power
by solar energy (specifically Solar PV and Solar Thermal technology as a support

What are the millennium development goals?

• Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

• Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
• Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
• Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
• Goal 5: Improve maternal health
• Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
• Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
• Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Why Solar Energy?

In the past decade renewable energy meant wind and Biomass generated electricity. With
the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in Dec 2009 and the
revamping of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) the next decade
seems to be poised to be the solar decade and the millennium a solar millennium!

Thus was born the idea for SUNSHINE MILLENNIUM.

An urban component targeting the Environmental Studies programs (EVS)
of schools and colleges; career counselling to guide students into the solar
and sustainable development field; funding for Indian PV technology
research. There is need for 1-35 lakhs trained professionals in the
Sustainable Development arena. A think tank that provides solar and
Developmental Data; and targeting urban unemployment/slum
development by accessing green technology is also in the works as we are
after all an urban entity.

My Inspirations:

1. The 12 African Millennium villages set up by Jeffry Sachs (~ 2006)

2. The Barefoot College (1972) an NGO set up in Tilonia by Bunker Roy and SAMPDA
3. SELCO-India, Bangalore

What does SUNSHINE MILLENNIUM aim to do?

It aims to establish a "Millennium Development Centre" (MDC) with a Rooftop Solar

Generation unit or a solar field composed of rooftop units over all the village households
depending on the size of the village. It also seeks to make the villagers complete
stakeholders of the MDCs from ground-breaking to growth.

• The Centre will house a primary school that provides meals. This school will
double as an adult literacy mission as well. (Target Goals 1 &2)
• It will have a rural health mission with a local trained as a midwife (a trained
midwife's presence will immediately curb IMR and MMR [Infant and Maternal
Mortality Rates]), a community counsellor, and a vaccination centre and
pharmacy. Going forward this mission could provide ready made jobs for
graduated of the Rural Medicine programme (Target Goals 4, 5, 6)
• It will also house a telecommunications/DTP centre so that the village is
connected to the outside world and has access to open source training and
webcasts (Target Goal 8)
• Finally supplementing the school and computer centre there will also be a Green
Enterprise Development Centre which will, first, train the villagers to service and
maintain the solar systems and computers in the village, second, get
training/support/funding to launch green enterprises (e.g., making them
distributors of solar products like solar lanterns, cookers, heaters, pumps;
providing green solutions for local enterprises/handicrafts and agriculture
productivity enhancement, etc.) and third promote empowerment of women and
gender equality and combat the feminization of poverty. It will also train villagers
to record solar data and access efficiency of the solar system and provide
feedback on use of solar technology so that the Local Solar Data and product
feedback is made available to interested institutions and the governments (Target
Goal 3 & 7)

The fact that the centre is powered by solar energy and will seek to root out unclean
technologies (kerosene lanterns, open fire stoves, diesel pump sets) will achieve Goal 7

Rural electrification is directly proportional to improvements in quality of life and


80,000 off-grid villages (Source: JNNSM)
Special Focus: Villages in "peripheral" (This is an Political Science term) areas such as
J&K, Northeast, and India's Red Corridor as the aim is a social revolution that betters and
transforms life from the grassroots up which is the heart of India.
Immediate focus:
Women panchayat leaders from rural areas across the nation who will gather in New
Delhi in April 2011 for Women's Empowerment Day organised by the Institute of Social
Sciences (ISS)

Pilot Project:
A remote village in Tamil Nadu as the enterprise is based out of Chennai


Although a few NRIs have promised funding to "give back to society" we need to avail
subsidies under MNRE's JNNSM and other government schemes and Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) programs as Solar Energy is Capital intensive and the MDGs need
trained manpower, technology, and adequate funding.

• Advice on JNNSM policies (e.g., how to avail subsidies, how to approach

ministry etc., what does the detailed project reports need and how much funds
have not yet been allocated and when are the deadlines)

• Advice on how to connect the villagers with technical trainers

• How to connect to those who would be interested in interning with us

• What kind of solar data needs to be collected to make a marketable resource (what
kind of equipments/training is necessary)

• Advise on government rural employment generation, education, electrification,

and infrastructure development programs (how to tailor our projects to
dovetail/supplement with govt. policies)

• Advise on how to approach corporates to get them to fun the Solar MD Centres as
part of their CSRs

• Advise on how to tap domestic solar thermal and PV technology (So that money
remains in the country)

• Advise on how to approach IREDA and other financial institutions

• Advise on how to approach MNRE to use cutting edge technology as opposed to

proven but less efficient technologies (e.g., Thin Film as opposed to Crystalline
Silicon solar cells etc.)

• Advise on how to identify a pilot project village and other villages that have
immediate need for this project. Where will our work have maximum social

• How to recruit manpower to sustain the MDCs

Eagerly awaiting assistance/expertise/advise/feedback and contacts/introduction to
interested parties,

Contact me at:

Raakhee Suryaprakash (P.S. Raakhee)