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Tata Power's Mundra UMPP creates sustainable livelihood for fishermen in Gujarat

In line with its philosophy of improving the quality of life of the communities living around its area of operation, Coastal Gujarat Power (CGPL), a 100 percent subsidiary of Tata Power operating the 4,000MW Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project, installed solar boat lights for the fishermen community from Modhva in Mundra's Mandvi block.

This is one of Tata Power's unique initiatives and is first of its kind in Gujarat. This is an innovative green initiative which will bring positive changes among the fishing community of Modhva village by lighting fishing boats using solar energy.

 Project Akshay Urja Deep is the outcome of an innovative model based on the needs expressed by the end-user of Tata Power's services. A pilot installation of the lighting system  was carried out in June 2012. It helped showcase the technical and financial viability of the project. Regular monitoring was conducted after the installation of solar panels in the boats. Periodic feedback on actual usage of solar light and collection of data on trends in the fishermen's catch was done by the CGPL team.
Six to eight months after the initial installation, the team came up with findings indicating the project's success, which was measured by the increase in the fishermen's catch. Both the CGPL team and the fishermen community was keen to expand the project and the village development advisory committee came forward to take ownership of the project. For the commercial viability of the project, the CGPL team started discussions with the fisheries department of the Government of Gujarat, who agreed to co-finance the project.
More than 325 fishermen and boat owners have benefited from this unique initiative which will help them earn a better livelihood. This project has boosted the fish catch quantum, as it enables the fishermen to go into the sea post-sunset and work for longer hours. The project has also caused a drop in collision among boats.
The solar lighting system has displaced kerosene lamps and created significant savings for the fishermen, while reducing carbon emission and pollution. It will also help to drive the message that renewable energy is not just cost-effective and environment-friendly but also user-friendly. The increase in catch will also help women who sell fish increase their income. Increase in income also ensures that fishermen can pay back loans early and increase their savings to enhance their quality of life.
Commenting on this initiative, KK Sharma, ED and CEO, Mundra project, said, “This is an innovative initiative that Tata Power has undertaken and also forms a part of our sustainability initiative. It is our endeavour to improve the quality of life of our communities and we are proud to drive such initiatives for the well-being of the community. We would also like to thank the Government of Gujarat and Modhva Machimar Gram Vikas Samiti for their support and appreciation for this initiative.”
Among the renewable sources of energy, solar energy has a huge potential in Gujarat, which receives 5.5 to 6kwh/sqmtr/day with 300 to 320 sunny days/year, which is the second largest amount for solar power generation in India. The solar lighting system is an ideal lighting solution for boats, mainly in remote sections where grid power is not reliable. This project is being backed by the technological support of Tata Power Solar Systems, a Tata Power company.


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