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Gyanesh Pandey, 33, CEO and Co-founder, Husk Power System

It was the desire to work in the village that brought Gyanesh Pandey, an electrical engineer from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), to Bihar from Los Angeles where he was working as a senior yield enhancement engineer with a company called International Rectifier.

Pandey established Husk Power System (HPS), which uses rice husk to generate electricity, with Manoj Sinha and Ratnesh Yadav who were looking for a technology to fit their model for six years. Sinha is an electronics engineer, who is now based in the US while Yadav is involved at the ground level with Pandey. Today, HPS supplies eight to 10 hours of power to 18,500 households in some of the off-grid villages, where the state-run electricity board doesn’t reach. Over 1.5 million rural Indians benefit from this and around 250 people are employed. Sudhir K. Singh, director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, says, “He is a rare mix of commitment, vision and management skills.”

My Mantra: “Be an abstract thinker. The way we usually work things out is not necessarily the only or the best way available.”
The Mission To make villages in India livable. Their NGO, Samta Samriddhi Foundation, supports the education of over 250 children at Tamkuha. They also employ women to make incense sticks using plant byproduct.

The Challenge To find sustainable technology to achieve rural growth. “Managing people at ground level is tough. We have created a paradigm. We have to now sustain it.”

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

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