The role of microgrids in India

India is a growing country of 1.3 billion people. The energy needs are increasing and people from all corners of the country have started engaging in small businesses and demanding better infrastructure.

The country, however, only provided electricity to 85% of the population until 2016; consequently, more than 200 million people were disconnected from a power grid.

Microgrids are small and localized versions of a power grid for regions with no or poor central grid connection. Long before the concept caught up with the world, people in India were using microgrids and minigrids with diesel generators. In the absence of electricity, they were powering small commercial facilities, farms and villages. But now, the focus has moved towards making the microgrids renewable-powered and expanding their reach.

Status of electrification

In 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared India a 100% electrified country. However, this claim is based on a definition that many may not agree with, and is sometimes challenged by the beneficiaries themselves. A village is declared 100% electrified when 10% of all homes and public offices get electricity. While this is a big step in connecting a village to a central grid, it does not really mean that 100% of the population is getting electricity.

This is where microgrids come in. For villages sparsely connected to the grid, or getting irregular power supply and frequent blackouts, microgrids are an opportunity to continue with everyday tasks of life. Local people value the uninterrupted electricity that they offer and are ready to pay for their benefits.

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Photo credits : Naveed Ahmed on Unsplash

Article written by Priya Aggarwal and first published on Renewable Energy World

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