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India's first fully solar village lights up the lives of poor residents

These days, Prajapati, 68, from the village of Modhera in western India's Gujarat state, has doubled the amount of earthenware he makes compared to a few months ago since he no longer has to turn the wheel manually as he could not then afford high electricity bill that were up to 1,500 Indian rupees a month. Now his machine moves on solar power as earlier this month Prajapati's village of around 6,500 residents, consisting mainly of potters, tailors, farmers and shoemakers, was declared India's first village to run entirely on solar energy all the time.

"Electricity has helped us to save time and produce more products," Prajapati said.

India, the world's third-largest carbon dioxide emitter, aims to meet half of its energy demands from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2030, a boost over its previous target of 40%, the government said it achieved in December 2021.The project in Modhera, financed by the federal and provincial government at nearly $10 million, involved setting up over 1,300 rooftop panels on residential and government buildings that were connected to a power plant.

The government buys excess energy produced here from residents if they do not use all of the capacity allotted to the households.

"For a self-reliant India of the 21st century, we have to increase such efforts related to our energy needs," Modi said earlier this month. For Reena Ben, 36, a housewife, who also works as a tailor part time, the solar power has hugely aided her work.

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