HomeNewsSolar Micro-Grid Used as Lighting Source in Indian Rural Are




Solar Micro-Grid Used as Lighting Source in Indian Rural Are

Nearly 400 million Indian people who live in rural areas have limited access to grid. They even need to take a long distance journey to a small town where charging kiosks are available to get their cell phone charged. India used to introduce from its neighbor countries power distribution devices such as China distribution transformer and encourage distribution transformer manufactures to develop desirable products to popularize electricity in rural areas. However, this conduct harvested trivial effect due to the large population base of the country, widely scattered residential areas and extremely high power distribution cost.  

China distribution transformer

To change this situation, Brian Shaad and his partner jointly established a power company named Mera Gao Power. This company employs solar panels of low cost and LED to build and operate solar micro-grid for the purpose of providing Indian people with clean lighting and cell phone charging service. The electricity generated by micro-grid is distributed to a limited area, adopting a relatively small space to generate power. Although alternatives such as personal solar-powered lantern are available to provide lighting and cell phone charging service, the advantage of micro-grid is that the installation cost could be apportioned to the whole village. To reduce operating cost, this system is also applicable to power generation and storage system of higher efficiency and larger scale.

The first commercial micro-grid of Mera Gao Power Company was deployed in last summer. Eight villages have demonstrated their participation in this project since then. Certain plans, aiming to call for the involvement of another forty villages, have to be backed up by the 30 thousand-dollar fund support of U.S. Agency for International Development. This company also encourages other electrical switchgear manufacturers to enter Indian market in order to provide more feasible solutions to this problem. The World Resources Institute is a think-tank located in Washington; it estimates that this market generates a value of 2 billion dollars every year.

The solar micro-grid system has ensured the normal electricity consuming of Indian people in rural areas to some degrees. Brian Shaad points out that the Mera Gao Power Company could not replace general grid, but it is something everyone wants and can be made available now. Currently, this technique only supports lighting and cell phone charging; however, this company is striving to develop some innovative services such as apportioning the cost of community entertainment center, TV, radio, cooling fan and information services to a group of families instead of a single user.

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