Beyond the grid

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About 80, 000 of a total of 6,25,000 villages in India do not have electricity. In fact, connecting about 25,000 of them through the regular grid is economically unviable. These villages have to be provided electricity through alternative sources. Solar energy could be one such source. However, it is extremely capital-intensive and an expensive proposition. It does work out well in cases where providing conventional power is not technically feasible. So there have been successful experiments recently to provide solar power at affordable rates. One such project is currently functional at Sagardweep islands in south West Bengal.
At Sagardweep The cost of energy at the Sagardweep project is around Rs eight per kilowatt hour (kwh). This is almost double the tariff charged by conventional power operators. However, this rate has been accepted by people in Sagardweep who otherwise had to make do with kerosene or diesel fuel. There are 10 off-grid solar power plants in the area with capacities ranging from 25 kilowatt peak (kwp)to 110 Kwp. Number of consumers exceed 5000. One 25 kwp unit has been set aside for a local hospital.

The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (wbreda)