SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR), announced today a rural electrification program called Eradication of Darkness. Through the program, SunEdison will design, install and manage distributed-generation solar power plants, to provide energy to Indian villages that have never before had access to electricity.
Just last week, Standard & Poor’s reduced its debt rating on MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) , to junk status.
“This program is making electricity accessible to citizens in India who have never dreamt of having it in their homes or workplaces. We have the opportunity to improve standards of living by enabling sustainable changes in the lifestyles, health, education and community affairs of thousands of people,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of MEMC. “We are excited to be the catalyst for this kind of remarkable transformation.”
The program will be implemented in stages. There are 29 villages in the Guna District that have been identified for the next phase. Appropriate financial and other partners are being sought to electrify these remote communities.
“As challenging as logistics are in rural electrification, it is important that residents have a voice in the development, deployment and management of a solution,” said Pashupathy Gopalan, Managing Director, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Operations, SunEdison. “We have worked very hard to understand their needs and provide education about the possibilities of electricity. We believe education is one of the most important aspects to ensuring the project’s success.”
“The day-to-day challenges faced by people who do not have electricity are beyond imagination to many of us,” Chatila continued. “Being able to improve people’s lives is an honor, and we are committed to continuing this effort in collaboration with the people of India.”
This project though very small in commercial scope, will have great social impact and will immensely benefit rural India. It is indeed commendable to see President and Chief Executive Officer of MEMC being present in India to support the program, at a time when the company is going through significant challenges from the downgrade by S&P and the acknowledgement of the S&P action by its new CFO.