Renewable Energy for Masjids: A Confluence between MaS and SDGs

Like Malaysia, Indonesia, and other stops along the sea routes, Islam spread to the coastal regions of the Indian state of Odisha. The Muslims of Odisha who account for just about 2.2% of its total population and who mostly populate its coastal districts have been badly affected by some of the worst ever cyclones in India’s history. Between 1891 and 2018, the state was hit by about 110 cyclones.

Power disruptions in coastal Odisha are quite commonplace. Tropical cyclones resulting in uprooting of poles and towers contribute to this. Indeed, the cyclone of 1999 was the strongest storm to hit the Indian coast, as well as the strongest in the basin till date. And in 2019 seven coastal districts Puri, Khurda , Cuttack, Kendrapara , Jagatsinghpur , Jajpur and Ganjam bore the brunt of Cyclone Fani affecting more than 3.3 million power consumers.

This leads to massive electricity blackouts for large periods of time. Add to the fact that Odisha has been experiencing intense heat waves in summer with temperatures touching 45 degrees in some places. Intense heat causes low water levels and low hydro-electricity generation.

The situation is particularly acute in rural Odisha with poor connectivity and pilferage in distribution. Overall demand-supply gap leads to frequent power-cut by design due to power rationing.

Masjids in Coastal Odisha

The coastal districts of Odisha -Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Ganjam -bear the brunt of the cyclones & heavy rainfalls. Together these districts account for over 90% of Odisha’s Muslims. Masjids have poor finances and electricity bill is a major operational expenditure for them

How Bad Does It Get?

1. Complete blackout
2. No fans or air-coolers or air-conditioners in intense summer heat (40–45 degrees)
3. Interrupted water supply for wudhu
4. Adhan is no longer audible to the people
5. Low attendance in Masjids
6. Aged and pious attendees are caused extreme discomfort and inconvenience

Green Manara

Green Manara is a sustainability initiative to light up Masjids in coastal Odisha, India with solar energy. It has made a modest beginning with masjids in the coastal district of Kendrapara as a pilot project at a cost of about USD1000–2500 per masjid depending on the floor area covered by the provision. The objectives of the project include:

  1. To ensure uninterrupted power supply with solar energy in masjids in the seven coastal districts in Odisha
  2. To cut down on their respective utility bills and reduce dependence on community members
  3. To enhance financial health of masjids by providing a sustainable source of income
  4. To provide training and source of livelihood to unemployed local youth as solar technicians
  5. To permanently stop bad practices of pilferage and theft in electricity
  6. To demonstrate the economics of solar electricity to households around the masjids and popularize the concept.

Confluence between Shariah Goals and SDGs

Project Green Manara may be cited as a text book case of confluence or alignment between goals (maqasid) of Shariah in the form of protection and sustenance of faith and specific SDGs, such as, SDG7 (affordable clean energy for all), SDG 8 (decent work for all), and SDG 13 (protection of environment). IBF Net finds this a perfect case to support through its Confluence platform and allocate IBF07 social cryptos to the project so that it can exchange the same against IBFx and invest back the proceeds into further expansion of the project. The introduction of the cryptos will also enable the project to raise fresh resources for upscaling the project.

Leveraging Research and Technology for a Halal Ecosystem