Background:

Globally, over three billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating,and about one and a half billion people are without access to electricity. In India, over twofifths of rural household still lack access to electricity and over four fifths or ruralhouseholds is dependent on traditional biomass for meeting their cooking energy needs.Ensuring universals access to energy remains a key priority for the Government of India.India recognizes the critical role of renewable energy as a key driver of universal energyaccess and has embarked on a massive agenda of energy access. India is also convincedthat achieving universal energy access would require new approaches in energy provisionthat combine technical and institutional changes and international collaboration especiallyamong developing countries.

Objective of the programme

The goals of this programme with rural electrification are facilitating the economic development of rural areas, improving living conditions of the rural communities, slowing down the fuel wood consumption and reducing migration of rural population to urban areas through deployment of off-grid electricity generation systems using any kind of renewable energy source. Under the programme it is envisaged to cover villages/hamlets where power availability is less than 6 hours per day averaged over the year.

It is intended to cover all the households in the selected village/hamlets, including those in the Dalit Bastis of the village (approx. 100w per household and some additional load for streetlight and productive load). The scheme will be implemented by setting of MINI/MICRO GRID wherever possible. Other modes will be small power plants for individual household or neighbourhood consisting of two or more families on ownership basis. In scattered population areas, if this is also not possible, then as a last resort, standalone solar lighting systems for each of the willing households in the village may be provided.

Proposed solution and approach

To overcome problems we face today we must get rid of our dependence on fossil fuel, but to do that we have to undergo a complete transformation in our thoughts and actions. We need to start looking at alternative means of energy or renewable sources like Solar for our development.
Solar Technology is still amateur and roughly 3 times the cost of traditional forms of energy, Yet when we are looking at replacing expensive fuel such as diesel and kerosene, used in most rural un-electrified or poorly electrified areas, solar starts to make sense economically.

Solar solutions/technologies have been around in rural India for over 2 decades now, yet it hasn’t been able to reach out and gain popularity due to lack of consumer awareness, a strong servicing infrastructure, and the fact that it has always been driven by a grant/subsidy mode vis-a-vis a market driven approach.

We need to work towards bridging the gap between technology and end consumer by providing extensive training and working closely with Rural-entrepreneurs and SHGs to create strong servicing infrastructure for sustainable access to clean energy and generating awareness amongst the rural households regarding the economic, health and environmental benefits of renewable energy solutions for creating a market for clean energy products, and ensure optimal use of these systems through end user training.

Activities involved

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of individual project or programme as whole including technical, operational socio economic expect user feedback impact assessment
  • Spreading awareness, organizing conference, seminar, workshop for experience sharing among various stake holders
  • Facilitating micro finance to rural people
  • Assessment of renewable energy sources available in the village in association with state nodal agency
  • Assessment of Energy Requirement of tribal/village community
  • Preparation of State-wise Master Plan for use of various kind of renewable energy sources in rural areas
  • Knowledge sharing for required technical and institutional changes for rapid up scaling of rural electrification through renewable energy

Advantages of this programme

  • Improvement in the quality of life of the rural population as assured energy can also improve health condition and living standard and can help Government to address energy crisis issue
  • Reduction in energy costs by replacing diesel fed irrigation; farmers can enhance farm profitability which can indirectly ensure overall development
  • Stimulation of commercial and agro-industrial activity and associated productive employment
  • Reduction of deforestation and soil erosion
  • Promote innovative community based initiatives to reduce local environmental threats
  • Build local capacity to implement sustainable development strategies creating ‘local ownerships and institutional capabilities’
  • Demonstrate high replicability, co-financing and scaling-up potential