Mini-grids in rural India Reflections of an entrepreneur

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1 Mini-grids in rural India Reflections of an entrepreneur

2 The beauty and challenge of remote locations: horses transport solar panels and equipment to a village in ladakh 2

3 Gram Oorja Solutions Formed in 2008 with a focus on addressing rural energy scarcity Technology agnostic but most projects in Solar PV and Bio Gas First Solar PV Based micro grid installed in July 2012 in partnership with Bosch Solar AG. Second Solar PV Micro grid project completed in 2014 again in partnership with Bosch Solar AG Bio Gas based cooking gas grid installed in early 2014 (as consultants to GIZ) Conducted commissioned surveys of a large number of un - electrified villages to assess potential Most of these villages are ready for min grids- Constraint is finance

4 Biogas model evolution in India 1960s to 1990s Home based and institution based Issues relating to maintenance and efficiency 1990s onwards Large scale plants Community based plants Village based cooking grids attempted Micro grids for electricity also being planned

5 Elements in a village grid

6 Community Biogas and Gas grid Flow diagram Biogas Digester Biogas storage H2S Scrubber Pressure booster Regulator Burner Communities having sizeable cattle population can be benefit from these projects. Where feasible energy farming could also be carried out. Gas usage in each house metered. Tariff to be usage based. The amount collected to be utilized for operation and maintenance of the plant. Local people trained for operation and maintenance of the plant. The quality of gas pressure, calorific value can be maintained in community biogas plant as compared to individual biogas unit.

7 Case study Kolwan Biogas based cooking grid planned First phase pilot successful One school for cooking of mid-day meal of 500 students Three household connections Second phase now being contracted out 122 households 400 cu.m. Of biogas Metered connection for each household Pressure regulated system

8 Case study Khamda Biogas based electric micro-grid planned Cooking grid to provide ability to swing in seasons of low demand for pumping Primary demand from 36 households Lighting Pumps for agriculture 75 cu.m. of biogas Metered connection for each household

9 Case study Borichaghoda Biogas based cooking grid planned Tribal community of 40 households All but one household today using firewood as only means for cooking High impact in the lives of women both in terms of health and time 60 cu.m. of biogas Metered connection for each household Tariffs to be decided in consultation with each household

10 Darewadi- a 9.36 kwp Solar PV mini-grid 10

11 Challenges of deploying and scaling mini-grids 11 * Community level systems, typically of size kwp

12 Mini Grid Implementation Crucial features Setting the stage: interaction with the community Designing to meet future aspirations Devising a sustainable tariff Minimizing battery backup Meeting safety and quality standards: gridready installation Closing the loop: complete transfer of ownership 12

13 1. Setting the stage: deep interaction with the community Assess the needs and willingness of the TG Inherent leadership in the community, if any, comes to the forefront Get the women on-board Building trust and goodwill is essential This stage could be the most significant cost apart from hardware 13

14 2. Designing to meet future aspirations Once on-demand power is provided, people discover and add new uses for electricity: Utilization of the system steadily increases Lifestyle changes and livelihood opportunities warrant high loads that must be planned for In Darewadi, a flour mill, two computers and a water pump account for ~16-18 units per day Water pumps have transformed the lives of women by eliminating 4-5 hours of work during dry months Water pumps will enable some farmers to graduate from an annual crop to two crops per year 14

15 3. Devising a sustainable tariff Metered consumption based charging is essential for accountability discipline load management Creating a corpus with billing collections is essential for battery replacement day-to-day O&M DDG tenders prescribe low fixed tariffs irrespective of consumptionfailure of CREDA mini-grids 15

16 4. Minimizing battery backup: through feederline separation Minimizing battery storage has several advantages Reduced upfront investment Reduced battery replacement costs Minimizing environmental impact Manual optimization through separate feeder lines for household, commercial and streetlighting loads Enables better management during periods of low generation 16

17 5. Meeting safety & quality standards: a grid-ready installation The installations should meet safety standards as per utility specifications Higher upfront investment but longer term sustainability Possibility of interconnection with the grid, depending on future policy Ensures safety of people and cattle Helps meet the psychological need of being connected to the world 17

18 6. Closing the loop: complete transfer of ownership Entrepreneurs cannot stay engaged indefinitely for day-today management, resolving disputes, etc A representative trust or village council plays a critical role in the success of the project People more likely to maintain if they feel like owners Anecdotal evidence from Darewadi 18

19 Ensuring sustainability Community interaction Ownership transfer Battery sizing Design for aspirations Tariff structure

20 Mini-grids should be considered as infrastructure rather than as business Mini-grids are essentially infrastructure solutions for remote locations and deprived communities Payback on several fronts development, ecology, internal security, agriculture and migration to urban centres Darewadi shows a solar PV mini-grid can be self-sufficient once installed 20

21 Possible Areas of Co-Operation Biggest challenge for decentralized renewable energy Cost of Storage Long run sustainability of such grids likely to receive a major boost if efficient storage methods can be devised In the context of India Cost of Capital is high, makes capital intensive solar relatively unattractive. Low cost funds made available could possibly demonstrate commercial viability 21

22 A village that is transforming from darkness to development 22

23 A new picture of development of rural areas is emerging Thousands of such mini-grids can bring about an Energy Revolution Darewadi: 9.36 kwp Viral: 5 kwp 23

24 THANK YOU 24

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