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Oorja Solutions 

Country  India
Beneficiaries                  Rural communities 
Project Description  Globally, over 1.3 billion people lack access to modern energy. In India alone, 450 million people receive less than four hours of intermittent power supply a day and 300 million are unelectrified. The majority of energy-impoverished are BoP consumers in rural areas, who rely on traditional fossil fuels, spending up to 30% of their income on diesel and kerosene for their energy needs, endangering health and environment. Oorja is a social enterprise with a mission to leverage clean decentralized energy provision in off-grid communities as a catalyst for socio-economic development and climate change mitigation. As a project developer, it deploys smart hybrid biomass-solar AC mini-grids (25-40 kW) and solar PV DC micro-grids (1-10 kW) that produce clean, affordable and reliable electricity for productive uses, household lighting and irrigation pumps, using a community-owned micro-franchise business model. It conducts technical training and entrepreneurial capacity building workshops to empower community members to operate these distributed energy systems and start new enterprises, helping stimulate the local economy and creation of jobs. With access to energy, children can study for longer hours after school, women feel safer at night, small businesses can operate after dark, there is improved healthcare facility and small-holding farmers increase their income through better irrigation systems, thus creating transformative change and bringing dignity to rural population in India. As part of its scale up plans, it aims to build 250 mini-grids in 5 years; valorise char, the by-product from gasification of agricultural waste, into a natural soil amendment to improve crop yields and sequester carbon; and integrate PAYG in its distribution model for payment collections and efficient customer service to impact millions of underserved.
Scope of Legal Assistance  Sidley is assisting with advising and reviewing terms of agreement for equity and debt financing, as well as with drafting/reviewing employment contracts with international employees, and assisting with non-disclosure agreements with clients/partners.