Modhera in Gujarat state is India’s first village to be powered by solar every day. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the cost of the project was $9.7 million and was paid for by the central government and the government of Gujarat state. Modhera has set a precedent for what UN Secretary-General António Guterres called a “reconciliation between humankind and planet,” as reported by Euronews.
Residents of Modhera can save from 60 to 100 percent of their power bills, Gujarat’s government said. “Earlier, when solar was not there, I had to pay huge amount for the electricity bill — close to 2,000 rupees. However, with the installation of the solar, my electricity bill is now zero. Everything from the refrigerator to washing machine now runs on solar in my house. I am not paying even 1 rupee electricity bill now,” said village resident Gadvi Kailashben, who supports her family through farming, told UN News.
More than 25 acres of Modhera now have solar and rooftop panels that provide more kilowatts of energy than the village’s residents use each day, reports Euronews. “There are three major components to this entire project. One is our ground mounted 6-megawatt project. The second is the 15-megawatt battery storage system and the third is the one-kilowatt rooftops installed on 1,300 houses,” Rajendra Mistry, the chief project officer of Gujarat Power Corporation Limited, told UN News.
The solar project not only helps with the villagers’ bills but it’s also becoming a source of income. Any surplus power they have can be sold back to the electric grid.
“We work in our farm and used to pay huge electricity bills for agriculture. Since solar installation in our village, we are now saving a lot of electricity. Earlier our electricity bill used to come around 2,000 rupees. Now it is in minus,” said villager Ashaben Mahendrabhai, who lives with her husband and two children, as UN News reported.
While visiting the Sun Temple of Modhera on the bank of the river Pushpavati, Guterres said, “One thousand years ago, the ancestors of those that live today in this village built this marvelous Temple of Sun. And they did it recognizing that the origin of all energy that we have on Earth comes from the sun,” as reported by Euronews. The UN chief added that, because of the solar project, the village was becoming “more healthy, giving them more prosperity, but at the same time contributing to rescue our planet from a climate change that is still rising without control.”
According to UN News, the Sun Temple itself is completely powered by solar energy, including a 3D light show, and its parking area has electric vehicle charging stations. The residents of Modhera told Guterres they were glad to be using renewable energy that doesn’t cause damage to the environment.
“Modhera, which is associated with the Sun Temple, will also be known for its strides in solar energy. Big day for Modhera as it takes a giant leap towards harnessing solar power,” said Prime Minister Modi, as reported by The Economic Times.