DULU SARNA, India—Sarita Asur, a subsistence farmer and young mother of three, lives in one of India’s most remote tribal areas—a place so isolated that it’s not just off the power grid, it’s also absent from most maps. She and her community, the Asur tribe, are based in the eastern state of Jharkhand. Nearly half of the people in this isolated territory lack access to electricity—the highest percentage of any state in India.
So when Azure Power, a private solar provider and longstanding IFC client, won a contract to bring power to 320 households in 11 mud-brick villages scattered across the state, the first item of business was to locate these communities. Engineers spent a week driving and trekking through waterlogged jungle to identify the coordinates of each village—including Sarita Asur’s. Next, Azure Power arranged to transport the equipment (including 450-pound batteries) on the narrow, unpaved roads of one of India’s poorest regions. Continue reading