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Orb Energy devises solar lighting kit for rural areas

According to reports, Orb Energy, a provider of solar energy solutions, has devised a do-it-yourself solar lighting kit targeting rural households.

The Rs 4,990-‘plug-and-play’ package comes with a 5-W amorphous solar panel, two 1.5W LED lamps, a console unit, a 12.8V lithium battery and a mobile charging adapter. The user has to mount the solar panel on the roof or a south-facing wall, fit the two lamps in ones house and plug them together to the battery to use. Orb is partnered with several regional rural banks (RRBs) and helps users take loans from these banks for purchasing the product, Mr Damian Miller, the company CEO told Business Line. “They pay us for the products, and customers have to pay them back over five years,” he said.

The Rs 30-crore company has over 100 branches to sell its solar lighting, water heating and street lighting. It is partnered with several RRBs to implement several of its solar lighting solutions in rural areas. The company has done about 30,000 solar installations in the country today through dealer and retail channels, including in remote villages that have no access to grid electricity.

According to Mr Miller, on using the system, a rural household will spend Rs 1.60 a solar light per day compared with Rs 6.25 a kerosene lantern per day, resulting in a payback period of three years on the investment.

Orb is also looking at exporting the product has seen orders from countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, East Africa in just a month after launch, Mr Miller said.

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