© Sean Rocha

RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES

India

Mlinda is working in the rural areas of India to introduce an environmentally sustainable and affordable village wide mini-grids. The scheme provides access to energy from solar and wind to a range of customers. The model provides house-holds, agri-businesses and shops with reliable day-time and night time energy with transparent pay-per-use options.

The energy sector in India is responsible for 71% of country's total greenhouse gas emissions. Govt of India, 2015.

The Challenge

DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

India’s energy needs are struggling to keep pace with the demands of economic developmment. Mlinda’s efforts to scale access to renewable energy is supporting the government’s efforts to ensure that a rise in standards of living while also avoiding a increase in green-house gas emissions.

VIABILITY OF SERVING HOUSEHOLDS

The 77 million people in India relying on wood, kerosene and diesel for energy suffer health risks, educational challenges and limited opportunities for economic development. Yet improving opportunities for a large proportion of the population by providing energy to households at an affordable rate is a serious challenge. Areas are remote and national coal-powered grid system is under heavy strain.



The Idea

One possible answer is to develop decentralised village grids which couple domestic needs with those of small-scale farmers. If both domestic and productive needs can be met through a grid, benefits can be significant as well as financially viable. Mlinda began by installing pico grids owned by and shared between 5 to 10 households.  This model implemented 300 grids, with 90 kW of installed capacity. It evolved to a modular pay-per-use system to meet growing demand and a larger scale. This metered model gives people flexibility to pay according to their energy needs, whether domestic or farm related. Confident in the knowledge that they only pay for what they consume, users are willing to buy energy they are consuming.

© Mlinda

THE ENERGY SECTOR PRODUCED 1 BILLION TONNES OF CO2 EQUIVALENT IN INDIA IN 2007

The Method

1Standardised village selection criteria

Mlinda has designed a village selection survey based on criteria related to population size and distribution, the presence of the grid, ability and willingness of households to pay, potential demand for agricultural applications, availability of land.

2Grid design

With our staff, a partner electrical and engineering firm has designed a modular grid system to reach a range of domestic and farmer customers in villages village based on solar and wind power with diesel for back-up and peak management.

3Installation, maintenance, monitoring

A mix of Mlinda staff and village residents monitor, repair and maintain the systems and manage payments.

The objectives

Homes

  • Provide 4.5 megawatts of solar energy to 180,000 households (900,000 people) by installing 21,390 community-owned solar 150W/225W mini-grids. Each mini-grid will be shared by 7 to 10 households
  • Create a locally owned, managed and staffed repair and maintenance fund and provide maintenance and repair training to selected individuals
  • Save 30,000 tonnes of GHG emissions
  • Create community stewardship groups that develop self-initiated and self-financed activities

Schools

  • Electrify 40 schools including government school hostels and private science and computer labs, plus offices and staff rooms
  • Train students and selected staff to repair and maintain the system
  • Save 263 tonnes of GHG emissions

Agriculture and small businesses

  • Electrify 200 markets
  • Save 600 tonnes of GHG emissions

The Milestones

2012 - 2016

2012 - 2016 Pilot

Between 2012 and 2016 Mlinda has installed 300 pico and micro grids and 9 village-wide mini-grids totalling 300 kWp of energy in two states in India covering 2200 homes, 365 shops and 3 schools saving 450 tons of GHG emissions per annum.

2017

2017-2018 Expansion

By 2018 Mlinda will provide and additional Megawatt of energy in 50 villages to 5000 rural households, 50 rural markets and 10 schools in India, leading to a total installed capacity of 300 KW and an annual savings in GHG emissions of 1719 tons.

2020

2020 Scale

Mlinda aims to reach 180,000 rural households, 200 markets and 40 schools by 2020 with an installed capacity of 4.5 MW and leading to an annual savings in GHG emissions of 30,503 tons.

Our Progress

Homes 2020 Target180,000

NUMBER OF HOMES WE AIM TO SUPPLY WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2020

Homes to Date

NUMBER OF HOMES WE HAVE SUPPLIED WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY

Shops 2020 Target 50,000

NUMBER OF SHOPS WE AIM TO SUPPLY WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2020

Shops to Date

NUMBER OF SHOPS WE HAVE SUPPLIED WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY

School 2020 Target40

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS WE AIM TO SUPPLY WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2018

Schools to Date

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS WE HAVE SUPPLIED WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY

NEWS

The partners