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Micro and Mini Grids to power India

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Micro and Mini Grids in India

In a Mini or micro grid solar panels are connected with batteries and power is supplied to a village where the per capita requirement is quite low. It is generally common to see them in rural parts. A mini grid is 10 KW or more, whereas a microgrid is below 10 KW capacity. Though villagers pay for their usage, financial institutions and philanthropic organizations are generally involved in funding the investment in these micro-grids. Village micro grids are becoming popular in the Asian and African countries, since these villages are unable to afford expensive grid connected electricity.

Now India plans to set up 10,000 solar, wind and biomass-based power projects in five years based around this concept to help the rural population in India. The Union Ministry of MNRE released a draft policy on micro and mini grids that will run on renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy, and hydro and biomass plants. The average capacity of each project is estimated at 50KW. Hence the government is aiming at installing 500 MW of total capacity.

Also read Solar Companies with a Social Drive in India.

Existing Biomass, Wind and Hydro Capacity in India

According to MNRE, more than 30% of the total primary energy usage in India is dependent on biomass. ~ 5000 million units of electricity and more thanstock-footage-solar-panels-and-wind-turbines 10 million man-days are generated from biomass sources, with 70% of the country’s population still dependent upon biomass for its energy needs. Out of the total power generation installed capacity in India in 2011, 21% was hydro power based. According to the Indian Wind Energy Association, 23 GW of wind power was installed in India as of March 2015.

“As micro and mini grids are mainstreamed, it will enable in meeting the goals of reducing dependency on fossil fuels, providing clean power to rural households, and meeting their aspirational needs. The ministry, therefore, plans to support its expansion on a large scale through its various ongoing programmes,” the policy added.

Source: Livemint

The power condition in India is still not in the best of its shape, with massive blackouts still happening in the cities leave alone the villages. A large population of the Indian population still lives in darkness. The situation is even worse in villages, where people have to run to nearby towns for even charging their cellphone batteries. Thanks to solar lights and chargers, the condition is still better these days. These micro and minigrid projects will help people meet their basic household needs.

I think it is a laudable step by the government for the betterment of the Indian society. It will reduce dependence on dirty fuels like coal and kerosene (used for lighting) and thus improve the well-being of the people. Though the solar story is progressing strong in India, with a target of 100 GW by 2022, other renewable energy sources like wind, biomass and hydro power are falling short. A lot of small projects are happening everywhere in India, for example some states like Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have strong hydro power based energy resources. What India needs is a forceful, national policy for a more systematic development.



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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

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Mohd. Saeed Shahnawaz

    Dear team,

    Kindly include some information on mini grid installed capacity by each state of India, and future planning. This will be very fruitful.

    Thank You