Interventions

Micro-grid to bring lights to rural India

The first stage will be to install 100 gigawatts of solar power in the next five years
Micro-grid to bring lights to rural India

Rural India is facing a huge transforming period which are lively to change the lives of rural livelihood in a way. Taking care of agriculture, farming, education, healthcare, the infrastructure necessity and development is also been taken care off.

Thus taking care of the parameter UN Sustainable Development Goals say that ways have to be found for everyone to have access to electricity. India is in the front line. With more than 300 million mostly rural Indians still waiting for power, it is home to one in four of the world’s off-grid people, more than any other nation.

Small solar energy systems, such as the local microgrid that has brought street lights and helped keep the elephants away from Rajanga, look increasingly like the route to bringing power to India’s villages. At the Paris climate negotiations in December, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his nation’s plans to generate 40 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030.

The first stage will be to install 100 gigawatts of solar power in the next five years, as part of an effort to connect the country’s remaining 18,500 dark villages in time for the next Indian general election in 2019.

India also has private entrepreneurs investing in village microgrids. They include Mera Gao Power in Uttar Pradesh and the Mlinda Foundation in West Bengal. But there are problems for private investors because, in such a densely populated country, the grid is rarely far away, and grid power is heavily subsidized by the government. In fact, it is often free of charge. This makes it hard for investors to be sure of a return. “The arrival of the grid could at any time undermine a private-sector microgrid project,” says Palit.

As a result, most Indian solar microgrids are run by local NGOs, often reliant on foreign aid. They are democratic and egalitarian, with power controlled by village committees: Every household has a connection, and even people who fail to pay their bills rarely get cut off. But this can mean that there is no money to upgrade systems or replace batteries when needed.

 

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