“The Solar Fix”

New film reveals challenge of broken solar equipment in India

Edinburgh, 3 October, 2016 – Around the world 1.1 billion people continue to live without access to electricity. Solar energy is a vital solution to challenges of energy poverty in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. But what happens when solar powered systems break down?

A new film, The Solar Fix, produced by the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh based social enterprise Scene shows the scale of the challenge. The Solar Fix journeys into three villages in the Indian state of Odisha, where over 200,000 solar systems have been installed by governments and international NGOs since 2009.

Last November, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told crowds at Wembley Stadium in London that all non-electrified villages would receive electricity within 1000 days. The Solar Fix reveals the difficulty of connecting people to reliable energy systems in rural India and keeping equipment working over time.

Since 2014 Scene and the University of Edinburgh have led the development of repair and maintenance services for solar energy in rural India.

Supported by the Scottish Government’s Small Grants for International Development programme, the team have been looking into the barriers to providing rural populations with access to electricity. They have built a new mobile and web platform – Urjaa Samadhan - that connects people with broken solar equipment to a network of local repair and service providers.

Vijay Bhopal, Co-director of Scene, commented:

We have seen the tough reality of chronic lack of energy access in rural India through this Scottish Government supported project. The energy access problem runs deeper than simple provision of basic infrastructure, and has profound and indeed preventable economic and social impacts.”

To watch The Solar Fix, visit http://www.solarfixfilm.net/

To support the project, visit http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/smartsolar



Notes to the Editors:

Urjaa Samadhan is a new Indian social enterprise, based in Bhubaneshwar, India, set up by Scene and The University of Edinburgh to take the findings of their project forward. www.urjaasamadhan.com

They are currently crowdfunding on http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/smartsolar

Scene is a Social Enterprise focused on strengthening communities through consultancy, research and development of ICT products. Scene works across the renewable energy and ICT in development sectors. Founded in Edinburgh in 2011, Scene has built a reputation as one of Scotland’s foremost community energy organisations, and has an emerging standing as action researchers in international development. 

University of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most successful universities in the UK with an international reputation as a centre of academic excellence. Their involvement in this project is through Dr Jamie Cross, a leading expert on energy access in rural India that has been working in off-grid solar energy in India since 2011. His research on solar energy supply chains formed the problem definition from which this project emerged.

For more information, please use the following contacts

Vijay Bhopal - Co-Director at Scene - Vijay.b@scene.community +44 (0)7795292872

Dr Jamie Cross - Senior Lecturer at University of Edinburgh – Jamie.cross@ed.ac.uk +44 (0)7552817310

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