#74 – The Unwitting Cycle – Hardik Rajgor

“Do the right things and the right things will happen. Doesn’t matter who you are.”

This saying fits perfectly with a story about a small colony in Bhuj.

No one is out to save the environment, yet almost everyone is using solar energy.

The Story

Let’s go to Bhuj, a small district in Kutch, Gujarat. Kutch weather is perfect for the use of solar energy. Ample sunlight with minimal clouds throughout the day. 

Five years ago, a small area in Bhuj with roughly twenty houses was being built-up. During the construction phase, agents approached everyone in the area and asked if they wanted a rooftop solar water heater installed instead of an electrical one. 

Cost of Solar Heater: Rs 36,000
Cost of Electric Geyser: Rs 5,000

Now, we all know the electric geyser here is the obvious choice considering the cost. But on the flip side, the solar heater’s benefit is that it needs no major maintenance and has a one-time cost. It would be paying for itself in 3-5 years. 

Initially, only a few people went for the solar heaters, most didn’t. Over time, based on feedback from friends, family, and neighbors about savings in money, more and more houses adopted solar heaters, and now more than ten houses have the solar water heater on their terrace.

Source: Hardik Rajgor on Twitter

After the success of the solar water heater, solar cookers entered the market. The state government provided a 30% subsidy. Demand was so huge that there was a waiting list. People were getting their solar cookers after waiting for almost a month.

Cost of Subsidized Cooker: Rs 1,800
Cost of Commercial Pressure Cooker: Rs 2,500

This here is a no-brainer. Not only is the subsidized cooker bear a one time cost and cheaper, but also a substantial difference in taste as well due to slower cooking. The result – instant hit!

It doesn’t end here. After the familiarity and experience with solar heaters and solar cookers, people moved on to the ultimate prize – solar panels for electricity generation. One-time cost, low maintenance, and no worrying about losing supply.

The bonus is you can sell additional units produced to Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) at a fixed rate. If you’re away, the system will keep generating electricity, and you can sell to GEB.

Now builders in newer areas are offering solar options, and by placing bulk orders, they can bring costs further down to make it affordable to more people. 

Consumers aren’t going for it out of concern for the environment but because it’s a better deal. One-time cost + long term savings. 

This is the story of a plot owned by Hardik Rajgor in Bhuj.

This is how, Hardik says, we can fight climate change. Give people affordable or better alternate options, and they will switch. It doesn’t matter whether they care about the cause, but they do care about the money they earned.

Source: Hardik Rajgor’s Twitter thread

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