Azure Power, an independent solar power producer in India, 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.
Azure Power will be responsible for the design, supply, installation, commissioning, and operation for five years of decentralized distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects along with power distribution networks to the unelectrified households.
In October 2017, the JREDA issued a tender for the electrification of 47 villages under a decentralized distributed generation program under Deendayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
With the award of this contract, Azure Power has successfully entered the off-grid solar market in India.
This is good news for citizens of Jharkhand where it is difficult to set up mega projects. 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 is these areas. Large-scale solar tender which was originally auctioned in 2016 have been stalled in the state due to tariff renegotiations.
Other than JREDA, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is involved in rural electrification through off-grid solar in Jharkhand. In November 2016, the NTPC invited bids to develop solar PV systems in the villages of Naiparam and Chatti Garilong in Jharkhand.
In February 2017, the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government of Jharkhand worth ₹151.5 billion (~$2.25 billion) to develop transmission lines across the state and connect the entire state to the grid.
In September 2017, Mercom reported that the MNRE issued clarification for DC system configurations applicable to off-grid and grid-connected solar PV applications.
Image credit: Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE)