Increasing environmental concerns, consumer expectations of reliability, better quality of power supply, and the improving economics of distributed energy resources based on renewables all make the microgrid a viable and increasingly widespread proposition. Hybrid microgrids that use diverse energy sources including solar, wind, biomass, and energy storage batteries are superior to single source microgrid systems. But how can one go about deciding which combination of renewable sources is best?
At Oorja we have bet on locally and abundantly available crop waste and solar energy being the best resources to power rural communities. In this post we explain why.
Agricultural waste: Carbon negative or a way to reverse CO2 emissions
The benefits of converting biomass into energy are manifold. However, sometimes plant maintenance issues or the seasonal availability of the feedstock can compromise the supply of electricity.
We want to ensure reliable and uninterrupted supply so that rural households and small-scale businesses that depend heavily on energy provision for their production get the power they need. That’s why we aim to incorporate solar technology together with biomass in our decentralized energy systems.
Biomass from agricultural waste is great but complementing it with another source, like solar, makes energy provision more reliable, affordable, and sustainable.
Why do we choose solar?
Oorja campaigns for the use of hybrid solar and biomass-powered microgrids to tackle energy poverty, agricultural waste disposal, soil degradation, and climate change. 200 million tonnes of crop waste and 300 sunny days a year are available in India without being put to productive use. Clean energy is fundamental to poverty reduction and a critical enabler of sustainable development. In 5 years, we aim to reach 1 million underserved people and to save 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions - equivalent to wiping out the annual emissions of one large coal-fired power plant!
If we are resolute about combating climate change and heading towards a carbon-neutral planet over the course of the next several decades, a great deal of innovation will be required. The energy sector will have to be entirely transformed from the bottom up; existing processes of electricity generation from renewable energy sources will need to be drastically improved and implemented on a massive scale. No one solution by itself will be able to meet the demands of rural communities that lack access to the national grid, but hybrid solar and biomass microgrids appear to be the lowest hanging fruit, particularly for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
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