Location: New Delhi, India
Energy poverty is a lack of access to clean and reliable sources of energy for lighting and cooking. It usually affects the rural poor who aren’t connected to the national grid. This undeserved population depends on kerosene oil for lighting and biomass fuels for cooking which cause harmful health effects such as breathing difficulty, throat swelling, and dizziness. This lack of access to clean and reliable energy has a negative social, economic and environmental impact, affecting basic needs like healthcare, education and earning capacity. Around 500 million people in India receive less than 8 hours of power a day. In states like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, this figure is over 100 million with 30 per cent of the population living in unelectrified or badly electrified areas. How, then, can the community be provided with a reliable and clean source of electrification?
To combat this problem, Rustam Sengupta founded Boond in October 2010 to provide energy access solutions and end-to-end value offerings to India’s low-income population. Boond, in Sanskrit, means ‘drop of hope’, and that’s exactly what this social enterprise brings. It is creating an ecosystem where people can prevent health issues resulting from the use of conventional fuels such as kerosene oil and firewood. Furthermore, with increased access to lighting, adults can work longer hours and children can study longer, boosting family productivity and income. Boond offers custom made, high quality products such as Solar Home Light System, Rainproof Solar Light Bulb and Biomass Gas Cookstove among others. It also has various innovation techniques such as the ‘HUB-SPOKE Company Entrepreneur Model’. These hubs employ local technicians to promote solar awareness and provide quality services. Through customized energy solutions and doorstep financing, Boond resolves the challenges of affordability, reliability and financial inclusion. In a real sense, it provides clean and reliable energy as an enabler for the fulfillment of other basic needs.
Since its inception, Boond has established itself as a credible grass-roots organization. It has been incubated by SELCO (India’s largest Solar light company), and seed funded by the Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) as well as the Indian Institute of Management Ahmadabad. By 2013, it had created a network of four hubs (energy centers), reducing carbon emission and impacting the lives of more than 50,000 people across the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Remarkably, lighting up the nation doesn’t end here for Boond. By 2015, it aims to setup 30 hubs covering more than 50 districts in the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Boond’s efforts have been recognized at the highest levels; it won the 2010 Economic Times’ “Power of Ideas” and in 2014, Mr. Rustam Sengupta was selected as an Echoing Green Climate Change Fellow, acknowledging Boond’s work in the domain of climate change and environment.
Environmental Impact: Avoided use of fossil fuels, including reduced emission of GHG’s and harmful substances
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