Massive Indian Blackout No Problem For Solar-Powered Village
Energy start-up Gram Power brought a "micro-grid" and solar power to the village of Rajasthan. So while around 700 million Indians suffered from major blackouts this summer, people in Rajasthan were charging mobile phones and maybe even, according to The Guardian, watching DVDs on their new television sets.
Gram Power set up the village with a bank of solar panels, the micro-grid, and smart meters that allow users to pre-pay for power—which should also keep demand from overpowering the grid, as it did India's conventional grid.
The method works for Rajasthan, but it might also work for the Indian government, which is encouraging innovation like Gram Power's, reports The Guardian:
The company is heavily reliant on government subsidies: next year a new law should give companies Rs150 for each watt of power they generate. There is competition for the grants: Gram Power is not the only company in India investing in micro grids.
Its unique selling point is giving customers a standard 240VAC connection, rather than just a few LED lights. "Our consumers can operate any and every household appliance depending on the connection type they choose. None of the competing alternatives, to my knowledge, are providing such a holistic solution on the electricity distribution side," said Kaitan, adding that his firm's "core innovation" is in grid monitoring, theft detection and a prepayment model that ensures payment recovery.