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The Kariyammana Agrahara IEC

The K-A IEC operator in his shopToday S3IDF is pleased to present you the fifth post in our Integrated Energy Centres series: The Kariyammana Agrahara IEC.

IECs are solar-powered enterprises that provide a range of basic services and activities to underserved communities. IECs, a concept driven by the SELCO Foundation, are developed in conjunction with S3IDF and other partners.

The Kariyammana Agrahara IEC


Kariyamman Agrahara is a slum is located in Belandur, an area located near Devarabisnehalli Bus Stop, in Bangalore. It is a settlement of over 500 households with an average household size of 5 – 8 members and total population of approximately 2,300. The slum sits on a 2-acre piece of land that is privately owned. The migrant laborers, who make up the majority of the residents of Kariyamman Agrahara, live in single room homes (100 square feet) that are made out of discarded wood, sheet metal, tarpaulin sheets and other found materials.

Residents use kerosene and firewood as their main sources of energy and fuel. Households have an income of Rs. 8,000 to 15,000 per month. They spend Rs. 250-300 rupees (6-7 liters of the black market) on kerosene and a minimum of Rs. 50 to charge their phones per month. Many households struggle to access kerosene and often must spent evenings in darkness. Households also must pay rent of Rs. 200 each month to the landowner for the use of the land and Rs. 20-30 a day just for water, which they can only access by walking more than a kilometer.


An existing entrepreneur who runs a petty shop in the slum and is a part of the community was chosen as the operator for the Kariyamman Agrahara IEC. The entrepreneur was interested in getting involved since the IEC would expand the range of services that the he could offer, including a community space for awareness campaigns, community TV programs, and projection and laptop services for educational activities. His pre-existing business relationship with the community and entrepreneurial skills were also deemed to be valuable during the development of the IEC concept and during initial operation.

Before installation, GMRVF (the IEC team’s educational partner working in the slum) helped to engage community members and conducted a 3-day educational workshop for children as part of the IEC development activities.

The building of the center was contracted to a local individual architect who involved contractors and laborers from the community to build the IEC.

Current StatusDSCN0435

The IEC offers lighting and mobile charging and has a charging capacity for 40 battery packs (+ 4 back ups). The battery packs power 3w LED bulbs in the residents’ homes at 4 levels of intensity. At the highest intensity level lighting will last 4 hours while at the lowest level, lighting will remain strong for 10 hours. Each of these battery packs also has mobile charging capabilities.

The battery boxes are rented out daily for a cost of Rs. 50 a week (30% less than current expenditure on kerosene). Each household makes a refundable deposit to the operator that allows them to avail of the rental services at the center.

The Community Center that is part of the IEC is equipped with:

–  Three lights: two 3W and one 6W so that this space can be used in the ?evenings

–  One projector and one laptop

–  Charging points with a backup of 4 hours

–  Toys and a mini library for children

The IEC is currently providing lighting services to 40 households and serving dozens of other community residents through the community center.

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The information in this post has been adapted from the Integrated Energy Centre (IEC) Brief Progress Report (March 2012 – March 2013) and more recent internal project update documents.