Husk Power Systems: Powering Rural India

imageby Verb

Since winning the grand prize in our 2008 Dell Social Innovation Challenge, India-based student venture Husk Power Systems has grown into one of the world’s leading producers and operators of biomass power plants.

Where it all began

Husk Power Systems counts Verb and Dell among their first allies before winning funding and support from other international energy and finance organizations. Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder of Husk Power Systems, reflects upon their experience with the Dell Social Innovation Challenge as a great help because the judges had previous experience with similar social enterprise challenges, and were able to provide invaluable insight for expansion.

“Looking back, we started with a business plan and entered the Dell Social Innovation Challenge in hopes of winning seed funding. Today, we provide electricity to over 200,000 people across 500 villages. The best part has been the growth and outcome of what Husk Power Systems is doing.”

–Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder, Husk Power Systems

“Winning $50,000 capital funding through Verb’s 2008 Dell Social Innovation Challenge enabled us to install two biomass power plants and generated a lot of media attention for us, which attracted key investors such as Shell Foundation, Acumen Fund, the International Finance Corporation and more. The media coverage began with PR Newswire and then was picked up by Fast Company, Forbes, The New York Times, BBC, and the Times of India.”

–Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder, Husk Power Systems

Powering rural India with discarded corn husks

With social impact at the core of their business model and each power plant serving around 400 households, Husk Power Systems is driven to transform and develop the rural areas where their plants are established. On average, their biomass power plants save 42,000 liters of kerosene and 18,000 liters of diesel each year, significantly reducing indoor air pollution and improving health conditions in rural areas. By extending village life beyond daylight hours with more power, Husk Power Systems’ work stimulates economic development through enabling businesses to stay open after dark and children to study at night.

Our planet’s natural fossil fuel resources are rapidly diminishing. However, Husk Power Systems is working hard to set a new global standard for renewable energy generation and biofuel use which they hope will benefit the globe for years to come.