Bookmark and Share

Village micro-grids become the next main growth drivers for Solar Energy in Asia and Africa

0 Comment

Village Micro Grids

Village micro grids are becoming the next fast growing area for solar energy in Asian and African countries. The sharp crash in solar panel prices in recent years has made solar energy affordable in a number of places. It is now competitive with fossil fuel generated power in rural areas in non-power grid connected locations. Large swathes of poor countries in Asia/Africa are not able to afford expensive grid connected electricity. The massive investments need to connect far flung villages with power grids cannot be compensated by the low purchasing power of the villages in these places.

Village micro grids in which one or a small cluster of villages is supplied with green power, generated from a self-sufficient independent grid is now possible. In this system, around 10-30 KW of solar panels are connected with batteries and power is supplied to a village where the per capita requirement is quite low. The power is used to supply electricity for basic use such as charging mobile phones, using lights at night and even running fans, televisions and radio. Since the purchasing power of the villagers is not high, financial institutions and philanthropic organizations have to be involved in funding the investment in these micro-grids. The villagers then pay for their usage, which is then used to make the repayments for these loans.

Village micro-grids are growing rapidly as the technology and equipment has become mainstream and easily available. Some of the bigger global solar companies such as SunEdison are even funding this trend by sponsoring such grids on a pilot basis as part of the CSR activities. In my view, this concept is going to grow really fast, given the tremendous benefits it has in increasing the productivity and improving the lives of the villagers. They get tremendous benefits out of the access to electricity and are able to function at night as well.

Also read SunEdison to now solarize the Indian villages!


The village itself also contributed 20 percent of the cost by providing land for the mini-grid and security guards to ensure its protection.The new 12-kilowatt system includes 32 photovoltaic solar panels and a battery bank of 120 batteries that store the sun’s energy for use at night.The mini-grid is big enough to benefit in some way about half of the 3,994 villagers, officials say. Its backbone is a power line running through half the village, with cables buried a metre underground for safety.

So far, the system powers 20 street lights and provides energy for 68 homes, 15 businesses, the sea port, the village government offices and two mosques. Now villagers in the coverage area can switch on their lights and fans, charge their mobile phones, listen to radio, watch television and say their prayers in well-lit rooms for just 10,000 to 20,000 Tanzanian shillings ($6-$12) a month, village officials say.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

No Responses so far | Have Your Say!