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India's First Solar Powered TVs Provide Entertainment To Families Without Electricity

By Nicole Caldwell

Out of all the world’s countries, India has the highest population without electricity. Although 94 percent of those living in Indian cities have electricity, the same is true for just 67 percent of the country’s rural population. That’s made India a hotspot for solar projects, with the world’s biggest solar farm installed in Kamuthi, in Tamil Nadu, last November. 

The push to expand solar throughout India is a godsend for a nation experiencing a growing obsession with television soaps, Bollywood, and American culture. Now those obsessions can get their fix, with India’s first-ever, solar satellite television, Forbes reports.

The pay-as-you-go “Magic TV” package was designed by Simpa Networks and is combined with a home-lighting system. Customers must pre-pay for the energy service a month in advance, providing them with electricity until the credits expire. The package includes a 20-inch LED screen with more than 100 free-to-air satellite TV channels, a battery, solar charge controller, and three LED lights. 

Everything is run off an 80-watt solar panel that is installed and mounted by Simpa representatives on the customer’s roof. Customers can then remotely control and monitor the panels themselves through “SmartPanel technology.”

Piyush Mathur, Simpa Networks CEO, said at the Magic TV launch that the product and company strategy are “completely aligned” with the country’s governmental priority to pursue 24/7 power that is accessible to all Indians. “We see a tremendous opportunity in rural areas where demand for energy is growing even faster than supply,” he said. “Rooftop solar has a role to play in both off-grid and on-grid areas.”