Solar smart mini-grids for underelectrified communities
This programme deploys smart solar AC mini-grids to provide clean, reliable and affordable power for last-mile small businesses, smallholding farmers and low-income households in rural India to end energy poverty, stimulate sustainable economic growth and combat climate change.
Implementation time: 3 months
Number of beneficiaries per installation: 1,000
Impact areas: Clean Energy, Rural Development, Environmental Sustainability, Poverty Eradication, Community, Agriculture
Over 450 million rural BoP Indians receive fewer than 6 hours of electricity per day. Grid electricity is severely unreliable, mired by frequent interruptions and voltage fluctuations. Moreover, expansion of the national grid takes decades and is mostly based on centralised thermal coal generation, which is highly carbon-intensive. As a result of lack of stable grid access, rural Indians spend up to 30% of their income on polluting and unhealthy fuels, mainly diesel for commercial power and kerosene for household lighting.
Lack of energy access is a fundamental barrier to economic development, notably in preventing commercial activity from taking place. Faced with the high costs of diesel generators, expected to worsen with recent deregulation of diesel prices in India, small business owners have limited business hours and low productivity. This leads to high unemployment and an unsustainable rural-urban migration crisis.
We develop decentralised mini-grid solutions for under-electrified or off-grid users in rural India. We deploy solar PV mini-grids to provide three-phrase AC power, with embedded smart meters to enable remote monitoring.
We use various standardised mini-grid configurations of between 10 and 50 kWp to serve different local needs. We then conduct engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the mini-grid. Mini-grids are pre-configured and packaged within a shipping container before being shipped to the project site, reducing installation time.
Oorja also conducts stakeholder/community engagement to facilitate customer awareness and acquisition. We provide technical training for operators and technicians and entrepreneurial capacity building to help new businesses start up, thereby further stimulating local economic growth.
An investment of INR 25 lakhs will pay for:
Benefits to rural communities include: