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From Solar Grid To Cattle Shed!

May 17, 2022

By Paul Homewood


  • A Greenpeace-funded solar energy project in India has become completely defunct just years after it was built, according to local media reports.
  • “When this solar farm went defunct, it was primarily because of two reasons,” said Vijay Jayaraj, an India-based researcher. “One, is the cost of the power and the second is reliability.”
  • “No one uses solar power anymore here,” Ravi Kumar, a local shopkeeper, told an India-based news outlet.

Eco-activist group Greenpeace brought solar power to Dharnai, India, in 2014, constructing a green micro-grid it said would make the tiny village “energy independent” and a model for the rest of the country to follow.

Eight years later, reports indicate the solar micro-grid is not only defunct, but being used as a cattle shed. The Dharnai venture is only one of many failed attempts by environmental groups, like Greenpeace, to “green” the developing world, according to one of its co-founders.

“It’s the same thing that’s happened a lot across Africa: goody two-shoes comes in and builds them a small solar facility,” CO2 Coalition Director Patrick Moore, who co-founded Greenpeace in the 1970s, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Then, pretty soon the battery wears out and it just doesn’t get repaired and they don’t know what to do because they don’t have any expertise,” said Moore, who departed Greenpeace in the 1980s after he said the group lost touch with its original purpose. “There’s plenty of those stories.”

In July 2014, Greenpeace celebrated the project, claiming that it made Dharnai the first village in the state of Bihar to run entirely on solar energy. The project quickly collapsed, though, as batteries became overused, causing the entire grid to fall into disrepair, environment-focused news outlet Mongabay-India reported in December.

“When this solar farm went defunct, it was primarily because of two reasons,” Vijay Jayaraj, an India-based researcher at the environmental group Cornwall Alliance, told TheDCNF. “One is the cost of the power, and the second is reliability.”

“In 2016 and 2017, when the village was finally connected to the grid — and the grid was powered by coal power plants — they understood that coal power is much more reliable,” he continued.

ayaraj added that non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace often market renewable energy alternatives to remote villagers with little or no electricity in developing countries. Such groups are able to avoid heavy scrutiny since the areas they approach are in dire need for power.



“These programs and solutions don’t talk about the sustainable nature of the programs, the longevity of the programs, what happens when the technologies age or how much of the current demand it could meet,” he said. “So, by pushing these questions under the carpet, these programs have started to take root in a lot of developing countries. India is no exception.”

While some villagers expressed optimism about Dharnai, India, solar facility in 2014, others protested it saying they didn’t want “fake” electricity, according to Mongabay-India. At the time, Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, applauded the project and told locals that coal power would diminish over time while solar power would always be around.

“In the first three years, it worked well and people were using it. But after three years the batteries were exhausted and it was never repaired,” Ravi Kumar, a local shopkeeper, told Mongabay-India. “So now, while the solar rooftops, CCTV cameras and other infrastructure are intact, the whole system has become a showpiece for us.”

“No one uses solar power anymore here,” he continued. “The glory of Dharnai has ended.”

“We left solar connection after using it for one year. How can poor people like us pay such amounts of money?” an anonymous local told Nalanda University. “They used to give electricity only for two hours. During rain, they do not use to give electric supply and so does during the fog in the winter.”


I thought this rang a bell!!



  1. Andrew Harding permalink
    May 17, 2022 9:41 am

    Yet another triumph of hope over experience in the crazy world that believes a trace atmospheric gas will deliver Armageddon!

    Dead batteries, spontaneously combusting electric cars, wind turbines decimating bird populations, until they overheat and catch fire. What other ‘Green’ treats can we look forward to?

    You couldn’t make it up!

  2. May 17, 2022 9:53 am

    “During rain, they do not use to give electric supply and so does during the fog in the winter.”

    Who knew? 🙄

  3. BLACK PEARL permalink
    May 17, 2022 10:04 am

    “You couldn’t make it up!”
    But ‘They’ still continue to do so, its a never ending story, propaganda that runs & runs, so it must be true. Noticed the amount of electric cars on the road now !
    Advertising / propaganda / scaring the populous does work it makes people (the sheep) believe whatever ‘they’ want you to believe.
    The last 2 years is a perfect example. Baa Baa

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 17, 2022 12:56 pm

      I would hazard a guess that most of the EVs now on the roads are company cars with the drivers laughing all the way to the bank.

  4. May 17, 2022 10:21 am

    Solar panels are great for off-grid recharging purposes, for phone, laptop and vehicle starter batteries, but not for providing an alternative to grid electricity, give me a diesel generator and cylinders of propane please.

  5. Gamecock permalink
    May 17, 2022 10:58 am

    Greenpeace believes their colonialism is okay, because they are good people.

  6. George Herraghty permalink
    May 17, 2022 1:08 pm

    If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?
    The problem of solar panel disposal “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment” because it “is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.”
    The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2016 estimated there was about 250,000 metric tonnes of solar panel waste in the world at the end of that year. IRENA projected that this amount could reach 78 million metric tonnes by 2050.
    Solar panels often contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals that cannot be removed without breaking apart the entire panel. “Approximately 90% of most PV modules are made up of glass,” notes San Jose State environmental studies professor Dustin Mulvaney. “However, this glass often cannot be recycled as float glass due to impurities. Common problematic impurities in glass include plastics, lead, cadmium and antimony.”
    Horrific Details here —

  7. Eric Schollar permalink
    May 17, 2022 2:13 pm

    My experience in South Africa is the same. A few years back I was doing some educational research in remote villages in three of the nine provinces. The EU, I think, had supplied many schools with solar panels and batteries. Almost all were non-functional after a couple of years. Principals called it “Bantu Electricity” a scornful reference to apartheid terminology in which “Bantu Education”, for example, meant second class education for blacks. Almost all these facilities were supposedly “vandalized” but, in reality, it turned out that the villagers actually found a sensible use for them – a solar panel and a battery can charge cellphones. For a while, anyway.

  8. Lorde Late permalink
    May 17, 2022 3:20 pm

    I thought you were going to say that the people had all gone back to diesel generators!

    • Eric Schollar permalink
      May 18, 2022 4:46 pm

      If you’re referring to my post, (?) the people want to be connected to the grid so they can get reliable electricity when they need it! 🙂 Just like the ‘rich’ people in the cities. On the other hand, our electricity supplier, ESKOM, is rapidly falling apart due to massive corruption and a failure over many years to maintain our ‘fleet’ of coal-fired stations – or building our two new stations by using competent contractors . The proposed “exciting, innovative solution” is to switch to unicorn sources like windmills and solar!! Boss Biden has promised lots of money to follow the Western neocolonialist instructions. Bureaucrats, politicians and subsidy miners in the private sector are salivating at the prospect of the cash deluge. Meanwhile, ‘load shedding’ (aka control of demand) has become routine, the economy is declining and the people burn wood for heating and cooking in the dark at night.

  9. May 17, 2022 3:50 pm

    Another takeaway point is that solar costs 3 times that of thermal. So much for Greenpeace championing free electricity. About on par with free wind power in the North Sea.

  10. May 17, 2022 9:27 pm

    Greenpeace and the greenies generally really don’t understand a lot, do they!

  11. May 17, 2022 10:11 pm

    This is the idiots from the World Bank doing exactly the same thing.

  12. Nicholas permalink
    May 20, 2022 11:01 am

    In the olden days, when you could still engage with greenpeas uk. I pointed to the inadequacies of solar in the comments section of a piece on Dharnai. The only positive thing that can be said is that villages experiencing similar failures re-enforce the decision to expand coal fired power and the grid to bring all the benefits of reliability, capacity and continuity to rural areas.

    • May 20, 2022 11:42 am

      Yep, provide a village with ‘toy’ (renewable) energy and they’ll soon ask when they can get a ‘real’ (grid) energy connection.

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