Environmental organisation Greenpeace is setting up a new smart micro grid in Dharnai village in Jehanabad disctrit of Bihar. The solar micro-grid, is looking to decentralize renewable energy.
The grid, to be operationalised next year, will support 100 kilowatts of solar panel which will supply electricity to 350 households in Dharnai. Livelihood promotion institution Basix & The Centre for Environment and Energy Development have come together to implement the project.
India has a total generating capacity of 223,344 MW of electricity, out of which a major chunk (58%) comes from Coal/ Lignite based power plants. At the end of 12th 5 year plan, only 6% of the country’s electricity demand is met with renewable energy sources while coal based plants generate more than 70% of India’s electricity (pdf).
Scarcity of coal, plants operating at low load factors and high transmission and distribution losses make centralized electricity generation an expensive and wasteful proposition. Often, villages are deprived of electricity to satisfy the needs of urban centers.
According to the Central Electricity Authority, only 82% of the total requirement of coal was available during the month of June 2013. India imports coal (mainly from Indonesia) to meet the shortage. India, the world’s third largest user of coal, is also badly hit by the slump in rupee.
Meanwhile, solar energy has recently become unpopular in many markets. Mainly because the Chinese have been making loads of solar panels and dumping them in the west dirt cheap.