Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Our system uses Solar concentrators to provide Power, Heat and clean water at 1/3rd the capital cost of SolarPV and has no disposable costs.



Two of the biggest challenges faced by rural community across the world are

1) Reliable Power (SDG - Affordable and Clean Energy)

2) Clean water (SDG - Clean water and Sanitation)

Using Oorja's innovative solution, we can provide highly reliable 24hr Power, Heat and Clean water for the rural community and its industries. 

For residents of rural communities who don’t have proper access to electricity, they are forced to rely on kerosene, wood and dung for their household energy needs and diesel for agriculture and commercial needs. The alternatives are expensive and causes hazards like indoor air pollution (Indoor pollution caused by biomass burning causes almost 1.5million deaths per year – more than malaria or TB)

Electricity is used not only for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows for mechanization of many farming operations, such as well-pumping, threshing, milking, hoisting grain for storage and many other rural industries.

Providing base load power and especially providing electricity congruent to the needs of rural and off-grid community, it’s a challenge that has not been solved yet. Present solutions falls short on either affordability, reliability or environmentability.

Absence of clean water supply, is the direct cause for some of the diseases like Typhoid, Hepatitis, Cholera, etc. According to the data from The Water Project, half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water-related disease. Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 is due to a water-related disease.

Providing clean water supply for residents’ households, schools, etc. to the rural, off-grid and island communities, it’s a challenge that has not been solved yet. Present solutions falls short on either affordability, reliability or sustainability.


Exploring Synergistic Solutions for Sustainable Development

What actions do you propose?

Our proposal addresses 2 of the SDGs

1) Clean water and Sanitation

2) Affordable and Clean Energy

Oorja’s modular Solar heliostat based poly generation power generation system is compatible with different types of heat storage systems. The system works in conjunction with a Biomass boiler and a steam engine to provide reliable 24hrs power supply in addition to steam and clean water.

The only renewable  based solution that rural off grid communities have today for alternative source is solar PV with batteries. Batteries require expensive replacement every 3 years. In addition, during monsoons there is hardly any power generation. So, unless there is a solution that offers inexpensive energy storage without replacement costs, these communities cannot have electricity when needed. Our solution provides 100% power with 100% ingenious components that can be easily procured and maintained.

Oorja’s power plant can be built within 2months. The system is ‘very different than the large-scale [CSP] plants being built in terms they don’t produce anything until they are 100% complete. You need to install all 200,000 mirrors and build a seven-storey tower and have every last pipe and heat exchanger and water cooling tower built before they can produce 1 kWh.

Oorja’s system is more reliable than any other renewable source for power generation. It is about 1/3rd the cost of a typical solar PV with battery installation and 1/4th- 1/8th the cost of using a diesel generator.

Power is produced by the use of steam engine which draws heat from the heat storage. The exhaust from the steam engine can be used for multistage desalination process and provide clean water.

Some of the other challenges our system solves which in turn help in the reduction of GHG emissions and providing clean water are : 

1) Cell Phone Towers need 24hr reliable supply of power. For this they are directly connected to the grid and use diesel as the backup. Cell phone towers have the second most diesel consumption after the Indian railways. There is a need for a reliable source of power and hasn’t been solved yet. Oorja’s system can successfully address this unmet demand till now.

2) India has a 100s Off-Grid military installations and many of these are in the northern India along the Himalayas. Providing power and heat at these installations are vital and today diesel is used extensively and costs a premium as it has to be transported. Oorja’s system can successfully address this unmet demand till now.

3) Today’s popular choice of alternative renewable power is Solar PV. Apart from reliability issues of the solar PV system, it also has high disposable cost, ecological cost and greatly benefits another country. Even the production of the panels and the battery has high carbon footprint for their production and installation. Oorja’s system can successfully address this issue as it is 100% eco-friendly and 100% indigenous.

4) Diesel is the favored alternative source of power and heat generation. Millions of liters of diesel is used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. This results in high amount of Green House Gases  (GHG) emissions. Oorja’s system can successfully address this issue as it is 100% eco-friendly.

Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?

The below are some of the key actors we would need to work with to achieve our goals:

  • Liaison with local government bodies through other government agencies or through multi-lateral funding agencies and NGOs.
  • Rural/Urban industries
  • Cellphone tower owners.
  • Clean water suppliers
  • Corporate Social Responsibility wings of large corporations.
  • Military contractors

Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?

The actions can be taken in many parts of rural India preferably along its coastal border or its northern Himalayan belt or islands. Also India has about 24million people still without reliable electricity and many of them live in the rural villages.

Many of the African countries also are best suited for this technology.

In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2


Country 3


Country 4


Country 5

South Africa


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

Each Power plant we setup helps in saving 33000 tonnes of GHG emissions over its lifetime. As the system has zero disposable cost, it also helps in reducing the requirement for landfills. 

Also, our system doesn't use any of the rare metals/minerals that have to be mined. This in turn helps in the reduction of total GHG emissions related to our system.

What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?

Some of the most innovative aspects of this solution are: 

1) Its modular

2) Its scalable

3) Its more reliable than other renewable sources for power generation

4) Its highly econominal

5) Its highly sustainable

6) Its 100% eco-friendly with no disposable costs either.

The main strength of the system is that it can cater to the demand of Power, Heat and Clean water, all in one system in a highly economical and sustainable way. Because of this, it can equally cater to residential, commercial as well as Industrial segments.


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Each power plant cost about $250K for the setup. Implementation of such de-centralized mini-grid solution, will help in reduction of GHG emission and will greatly help in improving the rural health. Today in many of the rural communities the demand for power/heat is served by Diesel, kerosene, dung, wood, etc which causes diseases/deaths (higher than malaria/TB). Also, 1 in 5 diseases/deaths in these communities are caused by un-availability of clean water. Our system address this issue too.

About the Authors

Madhusudhan Rapole – Founder & Managing Director is a serial entrepreneur and Oorja is his 3rd venture having successfully exited two earlier ventures. Has Bachelors degree in Mech Engg, Masters in Int’l Business & Adv. PG Dip in Renewable Energy. Had filed for 4 patents in the area of radiant cooling technologies. Heads overall strategy and operations.
Pradeep Rapole – Head, Sales and Marketing. Has a Bachelors degree in Mech Engg, Masters in Computer Science, has worked more than 15yrs in US with many of the Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Alaska Air, etc.
Conrad D’Cruz – Projects Head and has experience of more than 25 years in HVAC project execution in India and abroad.
Engineering team – comprises of Satish Ramolla, Amruth PV and Vivek Kumar, all having Masters degree in Engineering. Two of them have been with us for more than three years and have overseen the product development, technology validation and commercial implementation all along
Vamsikrishna Todeti – Has Masters in Ind. Engg from Sweden and has nearly 7 years of experience in technology sales.


What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?