August 5, 2011
School of Business, Bengaluru
Fast forward to 2020, India’s population is booming; global slumps haven’t dampened its growing economy, and consumerism is thriving.
While economic growth has boosted the nation’s status in the world market, the big picture is not so rosy.
And this is why; more people with more money consume more natural resources.
All that extra buying power increases product production, water and electricity use and carbon emissions.
Not an ideal scenario for a planet already threatened by diminishing natural resources and rising temperatures.
Specifically highlighting India’s forecasted energy demand at a recent international conference in San Diego, California organized by the Strategic Management Society in memory of the late Prof. C.K. Prahalad; Dr. Doreswamy A. G., Amrita School of Business, Bengaluru, addressed the need to switch to non-polluting solar power.
In his paper presentation, Doreswamy discussed the possibility of using solar power as a cost-effective and employment generating means to sustainably meet rising energy requirements.
“Electricity is considered as a lifeline in modern life and plays a crucial role in providing various services and products required for both urban and rural living,” he outlined.
Noting that India’s biggest energy consumers of 2010 were the communications media, service, manufacturing, banking and insurance sectors, he explained that electricity had not yet reached many of rural poor because the fruits of India’s recent economic growth had not trickled down to the bottom of the pyramid.
Smoke emitting and soot depositing wax candles, kerosene lanterns, and oil and petromax lamps were found to be the most common light sources in rural households, rather than electric lamps.
To collect domestic energy consumption data, Doreswamy interviewed Nelamangala households and those in surrounding villages using a structured questionnaire. Secondary data published by Karnataka Electricity Board, Pollution Control Board, Government of Karnataka, and Indian Institute of Science Research was also used.
Highlighting the need for various incentives to increase public awareness about solar power and make it more accessible in rural settings, he said, “Solar panels of a very small unit can be made available free to charge mobile hand-sets in villages.”
He also suggested Government or philanthropic agencies provide small solar power units to Gram Panchayats.
“Innovations must be encouraged to reduce cost of solar power panels which will additionally provide job opportunities for rural folks right from installation through processing and maintenance,” he added.
Sustainable energy resources like solar power are effective alternatives to traditional carbon emitting electricity sources.
Now fast forward to 2020 again. Solar power generated electricity is a normal part of daily life in both urban and rural communities. Carbon emissions have dropped because India has stopped relying on dirty energy producing fuels like coal. And India’s economy is still flourishing, but is no longer at conflict with Mother Nature.