About 4,000 female cotton spinners working from home in their northern Indian villages are now earning much more from solar-powered spinning wheels, or charkhas than from traditional wheels. Uttar Pradesh is one of India’s most populous and poorest states and is looking to solar energy to power businesses, homes and communities. It has given the solar charkhas to about 1,000 women annually for free since 2018, when a separate nationwide scheme, 'Mission Solar Charkha', created jobs for up to 100,000 people in 50 areas or 'clusters' across India. The Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency has installed about 700 megawatts (MW) of solar off-grid capacity. Its total solar capacity state-wide is 2,200 MW. Such off-grid installations include light for 60,000 homes in a dozen villages where grid power is hard to access, 300,000 street lights, and 20,000 irrigation pump sets for farmers.

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