Given the present condition of grids in accessible areas, extending them to rural populations is an expensive proposition. Due to abundant solar energy available in most parts of the country, a better option for a long term scalable and low maintenance solution would be distributed, community level, renewable energy based solar photo-voltaic (PV) mini grids. Lack of electricity infrastructure is one of the main hurdles in the development of rural India. India’s grid system is considerably under-developed, with major sections of its populace still surviving off-grid.
In 2004, about 80 000 of the nation’s villages still didn’t have electricity. Of these villages, 18 000 could not be electrified through an extension of the conventional grid. A target for electrifying 5000 such villages was set for the Tenth National Five Year Plan (2002–2007). As of 2004, more than 2700 villages and hamlets had been electrified, mainly using solar photovoltaic systems.13 Developments in cheap solar technology are considered as a potential alternative that would allow an electricity infrastructure consisting of a network of local-grid clusters with distributed electricity generation.85 It could allow bypassing (or at least relieving) the need to install expensive, wasteful, long-distance, centralized power delivery systems and yet bring cheap electricity to the masses.