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Productive Power for Rural Markets

Oorja is delivering low-carbon pay-per-use agricultural energy services to boost the agricultural productivity and livelihoods of marginal farmers and reduce on-farm carbon emissions in South Asia.


Oorja Development Solutions

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Social causes


SDGs covered

Endorsed by

Villgro Innovations Foundation

Villgro is India’s oldest and most experienced social enterprise incubator that helps build the social enterprise ecosystem in India.

Market of Implementation

  • India


About 50% of India’s rural households depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, the sector is starved of affordable and reliable energy services for productive uses. 30 million farmers use diesel groundwater pumps for their irrigation needs. High costs of diesel fuel, rental, and maintenance of US$80-120/acre each season restrict crop yields and growing seasons. 86% of farmers have landholding less than 2 ha and cannot afford alternatives, contributing to low agricultural productivity and income from farming. Further, lack of access to refrigeration facilities results in 30% of post-harvest losses and deters farmers from diversifying to high-value crops. Decentralised solar technologies such as solar water pumps and cold storages can cost-effectively meet these agricultural energy needs and play a role in diversifying and commercialising agriculture, enhancing produce shelf life and reducing waste, generating employment and increasing farmer income. However, despite governm


Oorja’s solution in this agrarian and climate crisis is to finance, install, operate and maintain community-scale decentralised solar infrastructure at the farm level and make it available to groups of farmers on a pay-per-use basis. Oorja currently offers three clean energy services: “Oonnati”, a solar irrigation service replacing diesel groundwater pumps, “Oojjwal”, a solar milling service replacing diesel mills, and “Oonnayan”, a produce refrigeration service addressing an unmet need. These innovations address the pressing need for inclusion of small-scale farmers by elimination of the upfront cost barrier, affordable tariffs and provision of timely after-sales service.
As farmers transition from diesel fuel towards low-carbon solar energy, Oorja’s activities lead to a decrease in diesel fuel consumption and consequently in on-farm GHG emissions linked to irrigation and agroprocessing. Additional GHG savings result from reduction of food waste through extended produce shelf life.

Type of Carbon Reduced/Sequestered

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)

Amount of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Avoided/Sequestered

Solar irrigation pump (5 HP BLDC): 2.34 tCO2e/year Solar cold storage (5 MT): 10.06 tCO2e/year Solar agroprocessing mill (3 HP AC): 0.99 tCO2e/year

Means of Measurement

The greenhouse gas emissions mitigated are calculated based on the amount of diesel fuel displaced in powering groundwater pumps for irrigation and productive use appliances such as agroprocessing mills, and based on the displaced diesel fuel for powering a cold storage. Consumption data is reported on a monthly basis by field team members according to system usage, i.e. based on sales. Emission factors used are based on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Project’s Environment & Climate Capability

Climate Risk Reduction

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