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India: 700 Million Without Power

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The Government's not oblivious to the issue.
Its 'National Solar Mission' aims to make use of the country's
. . . 300 annual average days of sunshine
. . . to harvest its prime renewable asset.
Asia's largest solar park, at Patan, with 214MW installed capacity, and
. . . expects to have solar power purchase agreements
. . . covering a total of 1.3GW by 2013.
It's also embarking on some innovative approaches to solar,
. . . 'ROOFING' some its major irrigation canals with PV panels
. . . at a stroke generating power from 'spare' space,
. . . while also cutting water loss through evaporation.

But the real excitement around renewables
. . . is happening closer to the grass roots,
. . . where an array of entrepreneurs is developing decentralised solutions
. . . based on solar, biogas, biomass, small-scale hydro and wind.

Husk is now working on basic solar microgrids,
. . . powering groups of around 40 households from a 300-350W solar supply.
. . . That should give each home enough power for
. . . . . . LED lighting,
. . . . . . mobile charge point and
. . . . . . low-wattage TV, in return for a monthly fee of around INR75-100,
. . . which is the same or even less than households pays out for kerosene.

Such micro-scale power has many benefits.
. . . With a radius of just a few hundred metres,
. . . transmission losses are virtually non-existent.
. . . And with everyone knowing everyone else in the area,
. . . the risk of theft – commonplace from the mains – is massively reduced as well.

Happily enough, a new bottom-up approach is emerging,
. . . even though it has a long way to go.
Bangladesh is now installing 30-40,000 solar home systems every month.
. . . Dlight distributed their 2,000,000th solar lantern this month.
. . . OMC is busy completing its 10th solar mini grid,
. . . because the economics of centralized grid extension simply don’t work.

The poor no longer need to wait decades for power.
. . . Instead they wait days or weeks for small scale localized systems,
. . . to be installed by local companies employing local installers,
. . . whose money is recycled in local purchases.

The cascading development impacts of decentralization.

Source: smaller-smarter-grids-rise-in-india  ROOFING


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