US-based Rockefeller Foundation’s (RF) subsidiary Smart Power India today said its mini-grids are now operational in as many as 106 villages in India. Smart Power India is setting up these mini-grids under the Foundation’s Smart Power for Rural Development programme. “The mini-grids are now operational in 106 villages in India. We are already in the process of building 125 new mini-grids with our partners … It is the largest privately operated mini-grids cluster globally,” Smart Power India CEO Jaideep Mukherji said in a statement.
The grids are operational across three states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. In the long-term, Mukherji said these grids have the ability to integrate with the discoms’ grids and would help accelerate the realisation of the government’s ‘power for all’ vision.
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He also said that the increasing affordability of solar equipment is a positive development for the mini-grid sector as it would help reduce the cost. “Our mini-grids are helping bridge energy access gap by supplying power not only to homes, but also for commercial and productive activities in the village,” he added.
Deepali Khanna, Director of Rockefeller Foundation said that they are aiming at powering 1,000 villages in the country. “Currently we are working with our partners to expand our work to Jharkhand,” she said.
The foundation has launched an initiative to use renewable power-based mini-grids to light up villages. It is working with the government to develop central and state policies that support growth of the mini-grid sector in India.
Rockefeller has invested USD 1.5 million to resolve the battery storage challenge.