India’s Energy Poor Benefit From Solar Microgrid

A test project supplying energy through solar-based microgrid with storage systems helps uplift living standards in one of India’s poorest villages.

Bihar is home to a number of poor Indian villagers with little or no access to reliable power supply. However, ever since Greenpeace and partners launched the project in July in Bihar’s Dharnai village, its 2,400 residents have found themselves enjoying a better quality of life.

The solar-powered, 100 kW microgrid powers more than 400 Dharnai households, commercial establishments, schools, and other basic facilities. According to Greenpeace, one of its requirements for putting up a microgrid facility is that the locale should have a mix of residential and commercial zones with existing units that cater to the community’s social, educational, and healthcare needs.

Greenpeace noted that more than 80 percent of India’s impoverished families living in rural areas still burn wood or dried cattle dung to produce fuel for cooking. On the other hand, some 45 percent of this group are without electricity and are constrained to make do with kerosene lamps for lighting. Such unsafe practices have had adverse effects on the rural folks’ health and on a more macro level, on rural India’s over-all economic health.

Fortunately for Dharnai, and hopefully for the rest of Bihar, a healthier picture might still emerge if Greenpeace continues to pursue more energy storage and microgrid projects for the state’s neglected and energy-deprived populace.

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