Renewable energy development company SunEdison has unveiled a plan to provide electricity to 20 million people in impoverished communities around the world by 2020.
The mission will be led by SunEdison Social Innovations, a group built around fostering new businesses and technologies that will spur renewable energy growth in rural communities.
Ahmad Chatila, president and chief executive officer at SunEdison, said: “Billions of people worldwide don't have access to electricity. Without electricity they can't access many of the things we take for granted – health clinics with vaccines, or schools with computers and fans. But by applying a mix of new business models, new technology, and charitable donations, we are tackling the issue head on. We are committing to bringing electricity to one million people by the end of 2015, and are targeting to help 20 million people gain access to electricity by 2020.”
As part of its new objective, SunEdison is developing new ways to bring electricity to those in desperate need of it. For example, the company is teaming up with Omnigrid Micropower Company (OMC) in India to power rural villages by connecting commercial solar customers to these areas. The connection becomes profitable for all parties involved, as high credit telecom companies are paired with villagers possessing little to no credit.
The relationship between SunEdison and OMC has a target to develop 5,000 PV plants over the next five years, helping more than 10 million people along the way.
SunEdison has also been involved in multiple charitable donations, with the SunEdison Foundation focused on bringing renewable energy solutions to health clinics and schools around the world.
Alakesh Chetia, President of Social Innovations at SunEdison, noted: “We have donated and installed 344 kilowatts of solar systems for 28 schools and clinics to date, which has positively impacted more than 16,000 people. Our latest donation is a 5.2 kilowatt system installed at a school on the off-grid island of Gilutongan, in the Philippines. This system is the largest system ever donated to an island in the Philippines.
“The school had no access to electricity during the day to power the 11 computers owned by the school. By donating a solar system to the school, we have given these children a means to learn with computers. This will improve computer literacy for the area, which will have a powerful economic impact further down the road as the children enter the job market.”