Off-grid solutions have been successfully deployed in Ghana and Germany, making rural areas self-sufficient in power through the use of clean energy. The Union Power Ministry is engaging in talks with the entrepreneurs.
PM Modi during his recent visit to US had pitched for harnessing renewable energy sources and welcomed the companies interested in fulfilling his dream.
"To expand the availability of clean energy resources to more people, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi endorsed the proposal to launch Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE), a PACE initiative, to rapidly deploy innovative renewable energy solutions to those who currently lack access to energy," the foreign ministry said in a release last week. PACE or Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship is a US programme.
Out of 6 lakh villages in India, about 26,000, mostly in Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, UP and Jharkhand, have no electricity at all. Thousands of villages get electricity for barely one or two hours.
Tata Power is working on a pilot project in Purnia in Bihar in collaboration with the MIT to install a micro grid with a capacity of 1 MW to power 200 households in the region.
Praveer Sinha, Tata Power Delhi Distribution's CEO and managing has expressed his confidence that the project would be completed by December this year or January 2015 and the billing would be on a flat monthly rate-Rs 100-200-instead of metering.
This off-grid solutions could refer to standalone appliances used in lighting, cooking and agriculture as well as those that power village-specific micro grids using one or a combination of renewable energy sources.
According to the World Bank report, India ranks lower than even much smaller African economies such as Libya, Gabon and Trinidad and Tobago in per-capita electricity consumption. This off grid solution is expected to cater to millions of villagers by harnessing renewable sources of energy.
Manoj Kumar Upadhyay, founder chairman and managing director of ACME Group, which is engaged in solar energy solutions, told ET that there's a possibility to cover at least 25,000-30,000 villages in India in a similar manner.
Also, presence of these micro-grids would reduce an extra burden over national power grids which are fed by national thermal power corporations, which run on coal.