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Indian ashram goes solar

May 28, 2013

An ecologically-aware spiritual group in India plans to use solar power to provide electricity, hot water and warm meals for some 25,000 devotees. They’re using a field covered in hundreds of parabolic mirrors to do so.

Image: Golo Pilz

India - Bright future for solar power

Project goal: Building a power plant that can provide a large ashram in Rajasthan with 1 megawatt of solar power. It’s to serve as a model for further plants across the country.

Project size:770 parabolic mirrors, each 60 square meters in size

Project volume: The Brahma Kumari spiritual group has invested 3 million euros ($3.9 million), while Germany’s International Climate Initiative and India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy have each contributed 2.3 million euros ($2.97 million)

CO2 savings: around 6,500 tons of CO2 a year

Tucked away in the North Indian state of Rajasthan, a giant and unusual solar park is coming up at the base of Mount Abu, a Hindu pilgrimage site.  The spiritual and environmentally-minded group “Brahma Kumaris” has launched a new and ambitious project called “India One” with the aim of making local communities energy independent. The initiative involves nearly 800 giant parabolic mirrors – each of which are 60 square meters large and have their own storage tanks -  that generate large amounts of solar energy. The Brahma Kumaris largely developed the technology themselves in order to keep costs low, and the organization’s faithful are part of the process. The Brahma Kumaris are already using the energy from the parabolic mirrors to power solar cookers for preparing food – an important task when up to 25,000 devotees come together for pilgrimages and festivals.

A film by Birgit Maaß

India - Bright future for solar power