The government has been seriously pursuing the advancement of solar micro grids in the country. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of Power R.K. Singh apprised the House that 63 solar micro grids totaling 1,899 kWp have been installed in the country so far.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has financially assisted the installations of these micro grids in rural areas of the country. “MNRE has provided financial support up to 30 percent of the cost of micro/mini-grids systems for installation in the rural areas of the country,” Singh said.
Off-grid solar is the solution to secure reliable electricity for vast portions of the country, and both multinationals and the government are supporting the off-grid solar segment through policies and funding.
Off-grid solar has a bright future in the relatively under-developed regions of the country. This is because it is difficult to provide grid power to remote areas of the country where the topography is difficult for the installation of the required infrastructure.
For instance, in Jharkhand, it is particularly challenging to get grid power to remote areas due to the topography and the fact that the majority of the tribal population lives in very remote areas. This makes utility-scale projects unviable. Microgrids are the only viable solution in these areas. Large-scale solar tender which was originally auctioned in 2016 have been stalled in the state due to tariff renegotiations.
In an exclusive article , Mercom had reported that India’s total installed rooftop capacity continues to rise even though rooftop solar is not yet a part of the life of the average residential electricity consumer. The growth trend is instead being underpinned by the rising number of commercial, industrial, and government facilities that are using rooftop solar as a way of reducing their electricity bills.
In September 2017, Mercom had reported that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued clarification for DC system configurations applicable to Off-grid and Grid-connected Solar PV applications.
In November 2017, Azure Power has been awarded a contract by Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) to electrify 320 households across 11 villages through the development of mini and micro grids in Jharkhand.
Image credit: OMC Power