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Incubation centre for solar energy training in Odisha

According to reports, Selco Solar, a Bangalore-based social enterprise, would soon set up an incubation centre in Odisha to train young entrepreneurs in solar energy, said its founder and champion of renewable energy Harish Hande.

The company has started conducting introductory workshops to select interested youths in various districts of the state, who are keen to work in rural areas.

“The state government should withdraw 4% Value Added Tax (VAT) from renewable energy devices and spares to promote solar energy in Odisha, which has huge potential in this field,” said the Magsaysay awardee here on Thursday. The company will conduct workshops in districts like Nuapada, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Koraput, Kandhamal, Gajapati and Mayurbhanj.

Hende, an IIT-Kharagpur alumnus, said lack of proper policy, bad designs of solar equipments and inadequate after sales services are the main reasons for poor response to solar power in Odisha.

“The government should focus on policy interventions instead of selling equipments. Like Karnataka, we want the Odisha government to fund solar energy in rural areas through grameen banks. We are also planning to organize workshop of bankers after identifying interested entrepreneurs,” he added.

Instrumental in revolutionalization of use of solar power in rural households of Karnataka, Hende was in the city to attend the foundation day of CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT) here on Thursday.

“There is a misconception that poor can’t afford the technology. Proportionate to their earnings, poor people spend more on energy requirements than a regular person with access to electricity. The poor spend 10-12% of their income on kerosene and coal,” said Hande, a PhD from the University of Massachusetts.

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