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Case Study | August 2016

Micro-grids and last mile energy connectivity

About 300 million (one in every four) Indians lack access to basic electricity supply. Mrida Renergy is creating rural ecosystems of solar micro-grids to provide energy access to this off-grid population.

Effectively used, renewable energy for rural electrification has the potential to transform lives, Towards this end, DC solar micro-grids represent an economic and sustainable alternative.

The Mrida 240 Watt DC Microgrid can be set up within two to three days in the remotest areas, and have the potential to virtually transform lives overnight. Once set up, these can be operated by Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) who are trained to maintain the grids, and also collect a monthly rental from each household for expenses incurred.

Mayoli Farms, Almora, Uttarakhand
On May 15, 2014, Mrida Renergy completed the installation of its first 240 Watt DC solar micro-grid for Mayoli Farms in Uttarakhand. The grid is operated by an enthusiastic VLE who also runs a NGO named ┬┤Himalayan Ethnic Botanic Garden Society┬┤. This solar microgrid provides energy access - LED bulbs, common lighting, mobile charging and laptop charging facilities, for four rooms/lodging areas, and common facilities at the farm complex.

Mrida Engineers and Mayoli team members did a two hour trek across hills and streams while carrying all the equipment -solar panels, batteries, wires and tool kits. The micro-grid was efficiently installed in a single day, bringing energy access to this picturesque farm in a remote hilly area in the state. The emotions of the beneficiaries that team Mrida experienced when the wooden lodges lit up for the first time were priceless. The warm contentment within - the fruit of all the hard work that the team put in, was truly something to be savoured.

The light and other facilities by the Mrida micro-grid charge up the team at Mayoli has made it possible for the people here to go about their own objectives ++ organic cultivation, medicinal plants and herbs, poultry, bee-keeping and poly houses. All this can be a great kick-starter for attracting domestic as well as international impact tourists.

Panch Deval village, Rajasthan
Following through on its first installation at Mayoli, the Mrida journey towards lighting up lives continued with the commissioning of a second grid at Panch Deval village in Rajasthan, on May 28, 2014.

A tribal village at the foothills of Mt. Abu, dependent on agriculture as its major source of income, Panch Deval is not connected with the electricity grid and had no alternative but to rely on kerosene as a major source of lighting.

Not any more. The 240 Watt Mrida DC micro-grid now powers all 25 households in the village, with two 2 Watt LED bulbs and a mobile charging point each. Each household contributes a monthly rental for the clean energy access - this is largely offset by the expenses incurred on kerosene and mobile phone charging.

The Panch Deval initiative was undertaken in conjunction with the Village Sarpanch who also facilitates collection of the monthly energy access fee. Members of the local community have been trained on basic maintenance. Besides this, technical support wherever required, is being provided by Mrida.

Moving forward, Mrida plans to initiate education and income generation activities enabling villagers to enhance their income levels. On the anvil also, is a concerted and scaled up initiative to extend the energy access initiative to many other un-electrified villages and hamlets in the same region.

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