Social entrepreneur Harish Hande is helping the poor in India in an economically and environmentally sustainable way, by bringing affordable solar power to the countryside. About 57 percent of the population lacks electricity, and for many more the supply is unreliable.

“I believe renewable energy, poverty reduction and sustainability can go hand in hand,” he says.

Hande, who obtained a master’s degree in renewable energy engineering in 1998 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering (with a concentration in energy) in 2000, co-founded the Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO) India in Bangalore in 1995. To date, SELCO has reached more than one half million people by installing solar photovoltaic systems and providing lighting and electricity to villages and businesses in the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Watch as Hande discusses these achievements: