Solar Micro Grids: Impact and Future in Rural Uttar Pradesh – Case Study on MGP

Solar Micro Grids: Impact and Future in Rural Uttar Pradesh – Case Study on MGP

Rahul Singh (IMT Ghaziabad, India), Anirban Sharma (IMT Ghaziabad, India), Amanpreet Kaur (IMT Ghaziabad, India), Mansi Gupta (IMT Ghaziabad, India) and Kannan TS (IMT Ghaziabad, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1671-2.ch069
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Like most of the developing countries, India also has a large number of off-the-grid villages. In spite of government's efforts at rural electrification, many villages cannot hope for grid power in the near future because the cost of setting up the distribution infrastructure. But when these villages come on grid, they place an additional demand on the distribution network and most states are already facing several hours of power cuts because conventional electricity is scarce. Thus these villages remain un-electrified for the simple reason that electricity is not available. This case study deals with the innovative business model of the company “Mera Gao Power” which sets up “Solar Micro Grids” in villages. It further analyses the impact of Solar Power on the socio-economic parameters of the villages where the project has been implemented. Further it discusses the various challenges faced by MGP in sustaining and expanding this business model.
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When you have your first idea, know that it will not work but do it anyway. Because in the middle of it you will get to know what will. (R. Singh, A. Sharma, A. Kaur, M. Gupta, & K. TS, personal interview)

Nikhil Jaisinghani, Co-Founder Mera GAO Power


Solar Power In India

Due to the huge energy crisis in the country there is in an increasing need to tap the energy from renewable forms of energy like wind and solar. In India sun shines for almost 300 days per year and receives on an average over 4500 trillion kWh of pure solar energy which is far greater than the annual energy requirement of the country. Thus the geographical location is ideal for tapping the solar power. The problem, however, is the high installation cost of solar energy systems as compared to the installation of conventional fossil fuel energy system. So, the future of solar power is basically dependent on the reduction in cost to a certain extent because in countries like India low cost is one the main factors when it comes to production of energy. Grid parity, which is the point when traditional and solar energy are equivalent in cost, will have to be reached for sustainable use of this power source. (Markets and Markets, 2013)

But in recent years it can be seen that solar power is slowly finding its way in the country. India has installed 1.8 Gigawatt solar plants in past three years and the government is working on approving projects for 2.3GW more over the period of next six months. States are pitching in large multinationals like SunEdison, Welspun Energy and Azure to install more solar capacity in the coming years. Central Government of India launched Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010, targeting a production of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. The first phase i.e. installation of 890 MW of solar energy capacity has been completed till date and this has made solar power much cheaper than what it was two years back. The same energy which was available at Rs. 15 per unit is now available at Rs. 7 per unit.

Gujarat was amongst the first state to come out with a solar policy and has solar energy capacity of 800 MW, closely followed by Tamil Nadu. Other states like Karnataka, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have also developed respectable solar energy capacity in the last few years. Government of India has also recently launched the ambitious project of setting up the world’s largest solar power plant in India which will generate 4000 MW (three times the present total solar energy) of energy from sunlight near Sambar Lake in Rajasthan and plans to sell electricity at an estimated rate of Rs. 5.50 per unit. (Biswarup G 2013) Looking at the above factors it seems that solar power energy has finally arrived in India as the next big thing. (Majumder, 2013)

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