Women launch India’s First Global Solar Products

At Barefoot College in Rajasthan, there are many illiterate, untrained women from the rural areas who proudly call themselves ‘Solar Mamas’ and learn to be solar engineers. These solar mamas have launched the ‘Bindi Solar’, the first universal line of solar home lighting products, which is exclusively fabricated, distributed, sold, maintained, installed and repaired by them.

Bindi Solar products include low-cost solar home lighting systems, portable lanterns, microgrids, DC TVs and fans as well as a range of handheld solar lighting devices critical to areas with no or unstable grid power. Bindi Solar is the natural extension of this long-standing focus, says Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College International. 

Beginning in India, Bindi Solar will be distributed through Barefoot College’s groundbreaking partnerships with Frontier Markets and GHE Solar as well as the Barefoot Solar Mamas trained across 13 states. Development of the new products has been made possible through CSR collaborations with Apple, Goldman Sachs the Philipps Foundation working in partnership with The Frey Charitable Foundation and EROL Foundation. 

Barefoot College has proven that a mastery of technology is one of the most effective means to developing a woman’s confidence, competence, and belief in herself. The three essential elements empower people and inspire them to assume leadership roles in their communities. This product development and distribution initiative will only strengthen that trend in rural communities throughout India. The world agreed on 17 top priorities for a better planet by 2030, which include key issues like ending poverty, empowering women, creating environmental sustainability and expanding renewable energy. 

Sam Pitroda, Board Member, Barefoot College International and telecommunications leader said: “We are very proud of the work we have done in collaboration with both private sector companies, NGOs and together with our indigenous partners whose deep connection to sustainable living practices inspires us always”.

Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College International said “An overwhelming call for hardware that can be maintained and repaired, is durable and a more sustainable and responsible evolution of solar electrification in last mile settings, has been heard and now answered in line with the SDGs and the urgency of climate change leadership to happen form the bottom up”. 

At present, Barefoot College boasts a diverse and broad team of dedicated individuals from the educated and grassroots communities, working side by side towards the impact of the critical issues faced by the rural communities in access to energy, water, sanitation, education and sustainable livelihood development.

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