Clean Energy Mini-grids: Powering the Indian Rural Economy

The energy landscape in India is rapidly transforming. The SAUBHAGYA scheme of the Government of India focusing on expansion of centralised grid infrastructure has brought electricity to more than 25 million households since 2017 – a huge leap forward in the universal mission to provide energy to access to all.

Yet connections in many rural areas continue to struggle with poor quality of electricity services and many hours of brownouts. According to a recent study on “Customer Behaviour and Demand for Rural Electrification in India” by the Smart Power Initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation: Almost 40 per cent off-grid electricity users do not express satisfaction with grid-electricity services. The report draws upon results from more than 10,000 surveyed households in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

The same report shows a wide gap in reliability of gridconnections to rural micro-enterprises with only 65 per cent of 2,000 rural enterprises surveyed reporting grid-connections. In the most remote areas of India productive loads to power the rural economy are hence the exception, not the rule.

Thanks to their proven ability to provide power at high quality in a cost-efficient way, decentralised renewable energy solutions (DRE), such as clean energy mini-grids provide a reliable solution to the above challenges in the short term.

ARE explains what is needed for the DRE market to reach its potential in its contribution to the Electrical India Magazine.

PDF icon EI_Mar19 - Clean Energy Mini Grids.pdf