This is the first case in Maharashtra and the second in the country to set up a solar panel manufacturing industry through a women’s self-help group in a rural area.
Wardha: In a first of its kind initiative, a solar panel manufacturing unit has been set-up by a women’s self-help group from Kawatha village.
‘Tejaswi Solar Energy Backward Class Women’s Industrial Co-operative Society’ will be inaugurated by district guardian and animal husbandry, dairy development, sports and youth welfare minister Sunil Kedar on January 26.
Solar panel manufacturing is generally undertaken by big companies. However, the uneducated women of the self-help group have taken a leap into the industry by gaining proficiency in technical work like solar panel construction and manufacturing. This is the first case in Maharashtra and the second in the country to set up a solar panel manufacturing industry through a women’s self-help group in a rural area.
In 2018, the then district collector Shailesh Nawal introduced this idea to these women and sanctioned Rs3 crore for this project under DPDC’s innovative schemes by the social welfare department in collaboration with UMED Abhiyan of Zilla Parishad.
“We are trying to be entrepreneurial through the women self-help group movement. In our Kawatha (Zopadi) village, the majority of women belong to the backward class community. This project has been set-up by the district planning and development committee’s (DPDC) innovative scheme. We have been trained by UMED Abhiyan of Zilla Parishad. Now are manufacturing solar panels, street lights and lamps in our village,” said Sangita Wankhede, director of the unit.
“Wardha district has always been at the forefront of innovative initiatives by self-help groups. Solar panels, solar street lights, solar lamps are being made through the Tejasvi Solar Energy project. The goal of the project is to provide women with sustainable employment, which will help increase their domestic productivity and raise their living standards,” said Dr Sachin Ombase, chief executive officer, ZP Wardha.
IIT Mumbai has been providing technical support to the project, said project manager from IIT Mumbai, Amit Deshmukh. IIT Mumbai works with the ministry of non-conventional energy. This work is based on the concept of ‘Sustainable Energy Ecosystem — From Locals to Locals’ The cost of solar panels is reduced because it’s produced locally. The project is sure to boost the skills of locals, strengthen the local economy as well as generate employment and increase the income of the women.
Tejaswi Solar Energy Backward Women’s Industrial Society has been registered under the cooperative society with 214 women shareholders, 200 of them are from the backward class. Right from preparation of the project report to getting it approved by the DPDC for construction of factory shed, implementation of e-tender process, purchase of machine, registration as a cooperative body and registration of goods and services tax etc has been done by Umed Abhiyan. Deshmukh stayed in the village and imparted training to the women, including skills required to run a company, information technology, financial management, accounting, tally, online ordering of raw materials, marketing etc
Initially, after getting trained from Durga Solar Energy of Dungarpur, Rajasthan, 12 women came to the village and started making solar lamps and also made one thousand lamps and sold them for Rs2 lakh. The company’s factory is ready and work to make panels is under way. Women are also making solar panels, solar street lights and solar home lights. Recently, they received an order worth Rs40 lakh by ZP to supply street lights in rural areas.