India Placeholder

Barefoot Solar Initiative

About the Implementing organization

Name: Barefoot College

Country: India

Year of establishment: 1972

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Public-private partnership / Women’s association or organization


The economy of this indigenous tribal being forest and agro-based pressure on land was very high as the village has less land compared to the growing village population.

Secondly, most of the forest being community land, it was difficult to regulate land use among a large population who depend on community forest. There was no effective control on land use. Unsustainable land use pattern due to heavy pressure was threatening the forest to almost degradation around the village. Village community started to feel the pinch of forest degradation. In the decision of conservation versus livelihood of the villagers, the village chose to conserve the forest with the view of sustainability for all. The village authority has to face the challenge of meeting the needs of the village farmers who depend on this forest for their livelihood. However, their struggle was not in vain. They can experience the benefit now.

Nature Element

Forests / Coasts / Mountains / Wetlands / Grasslands /

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and educationcation

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Disaster risk reduction / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

A solar lighting system is a clean energy source for the rural community. Barefoot College has been responsible for lighting over 15,000 houses. 1 Megawatts SPV panels have been installed which currently saves a total of 5 million liters of kerosene in a year, globally.

Health, environmental and economic savings: 30,000 liters of kerosene (currently used for lighting) per year by 100 households is saved. 990 women have been trained for installation, repair and maintenance and future training of other women, as Barefoot Solar Engineers (WBSE).

Sustainable Development Impacts

- To educate and empower women to become solar engineers who install and maintain the equipment for all households in their villages, utilizing renewable energy sources and creating sustainability and independence for rural communities.
- To improve air quality in the households through the replacement of kerosene lamps by solar lights. A diminution of smoke in the house can be noted which provides a healthier environment within the household.
- To enable children to study longer and with proper lighting.
- To enhance livelihood activities providing more time in the evening to do more income generating activities.
- To provide mobile charging facility within the household, saving them time and money.
- To enable them to save money on lighting for other basic needs.


Women from over 80 countries around the world have been trained in India through the ITEC Program. +15000 households have been solar electrified around the world in 169 communities. We are now developing regional training centers in Africa, Latin America, and Asia in collaborative partnership with national governments, influencing policy making surrounding renewable energy. Once established, the centers shall become an integrated part of the rural electrification strategy of the host government, empowering underserved communities at the bottom of the pyramid. The scalability of the Barefoot Model was built into the organization's founding principles of decentralized diffusion of knowledge. Women who have been trained as Barefoot Solar engineers in the past are invited to become trainers. As the organization continues to grow, and an increasing number of training centers are established, more women are invited to share what they have learned in different regions.


The universality of the model has been proven as it continues to scale at a global level. Women from over 80 countries around the world have been trained in India through the ITEC Program. +15000 households have been solar electrified around the world in 169 communities.

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