News 2012

Sunlabob makes first venture into India with solar-powered water purification installation

Acting as technology consultant and provider, Sunlabob collaborates with India-based partners to enable fresh drinking water in New Delhi public school.

Sunlabob, a Laos-based company specializing in renewable energy and clean water projects in developing areas of the world, recently concluded its first project in India through the installation of a solar-powered water purification system at a public school in Surajmal Vihar, an underprivileged suburb of East New Delhi. In collaboration with the New Delhi government and two India-based partners – local non-profit Social Awareness Newer Alternatives (SANA), and project developer Green & Blue Renewable Energy – Sunlabob provided the technology and training to enable the daily production of 5000 liters of clean drinking water for the 800 students and faculty of the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya (RPVV) school.

“Utilizing this innovative sustainable technology is not only allowing the school to produce clean, locally-sourced drinking water, but is enabling new health and economic benefits to the students, teachers and their families,” said Andrea Buetler, Head of Sales, Sunlabob.

In addition to providing the school with fresh drinking water that meets World Health Organization (WHO) standards, the initiative allows each student to bring home two liters of water per family member every day. The regular supply of clean water will act as a critical step in reducing disease and improving living standards for the students’ families which live in disadvantaged neighborhoods with severe health, water and sanitation problems. In addition to the positive impacts on health, the program will instill economic and entrepreneurial values: the school will own the purification system and a trained group of grade 9-12 students will manage the system.

“Sunlabob and our partners believe the successful impacts of the RPVV project can be replicated with other schools and organizations throughout India in similar disadvantaged situations of limited clean water, lack of grid electricity and high health risks,” added Buetler.

There are more than 650 other public schools in New Delhi and Sunlabob and its partners see a market of more than 1000 other schools across India that would benefit from solar-powered water purification programs.

Buetler joined SANA and Green & Blue to attend the inauguration of the purification system, which featured nearly 2000 attendees including several high-level Indian dignitaries such as the Chief Minister of Delhi, Hon. Smt. Sheila Dikshit, the Minister of State for Defence, Hon. Shri Pallam Raju and Hon. Shri Sandeep Dikshit, Member of Parliament, East Delhi.

The dignitaries and project partners at the event discussed the difficult conditions and limited supplies of clean water and reliable electricity in East Delhi and acknowledged the importance using affordable, sustainable solutions such as solar-powered water purification to address the area’s challenges.

“Access to water is a fundamental human right and managing this most precious gift of nature is imperative,” said Ms. Sanchaita Raju of SANA. “A steady, affordable and clean supply of drinking water changes the way we live by reducing health risks and increasing economic opportunities.”

Sunlabob holds extensive experience in developing and installing similar renewable energy and clean water projects throughout other challenging, off-grid areas throughout Southeast Asia and Africa – a primary reason SANA and Green & Blue chose the company as its technology partner.

“Under difficult infrastructure conditions like those in the rural landscape of India, having a solar-powered water purification station is an impactful breakthrough for the people and their health and economic well-being,” said Nabhesh Khanna, Director of Green & Blue. “It is our hope that the success at RPVV will serve as a role model for the many other schools in New Delhi and throughout India facing the same challenges.”

Sunlabob acted as the technology partner from the project’s inception. Initially, the company conducted a feasibility study to assess the technical requirements while also evaluating the operational model and the socio- economic impacts of a new water purification station at the school. In the second phase, Sunlabob provided and installed the equipment and gave in-depth training to the school’s management and the group of students who are now responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system.

The opportunities to expand use of this technology and operational model throughout India and other developing countries are promising. SANA, Green & Blue and Sunlabob are together focused on deploying similar projects across India, particularly in New Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and in Andhra Pradesh, where the next purification station roll out is planned.