The Adoption and Use of Solar Mini-Grids in Grid-Electrified Indian Villages

Energy for Sustainable Development, Forthcoming

33 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2020

See all articles by Anjali Sharma

Anjali Sharma

University of Maryland

Shalu Agrawal

Council on Energy, Environment and Water

Johannes Urpelainen

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Date Written: February 7, 2020

Abstract

Across diverse geographies, mini-grids have been employed to provide energy access to off-grid and rural communities. In India, amid the government push to expand grid infrastructure, concerns have been raised about the viability of mini-grid business models that are largely run by private companies. While the role of mini-grids in previously un-electrified areas has been studied extensively, there exists limited empirical evidence regarding their uptake in grid-connected regions. In this paper, we analyze adoption and use of mini-grids among rural communities living in grid-electrified villages. The findings are based on the primary data of 2648 households and 544 non-farm enterprises from 54 villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India. Our results suggest that despite the presence of central-grid infrastructure, users adopt mini-grid in regions which lack reliable power supply. The mini-grid uptake was found to be relatively higher among non-farm enterprises, which, unlike households, have not received adequate policy attention and support. However, mini-grids were being used only for meeting basic lighting and cooling loads in most cases, primarily due to affordability concerns. Based on our findings, we argue that grid-interactive mini-grids could be used to serve rural enterprises as they value reliable power supply. Yet, the current low levels of electricity demand among non-farm rural enterprises suggest that growth in electricity demand and in turn enterprise productivity would require complementary services and infrastructure.

Keywords: mini-grids, adoption, rural enterprises, rural households

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Anjali and Agrawal, Shalu and Urpelainen, Johannes, The Adoption and Use of Solar Mini-Grids in Grid-Electrified Indian Villages (February 7, 2020). Energy for Sustainable Development, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3531200

Anjali Sharma

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Shalu Agrawal

Council on Energy, Environment and Water ( email )

Thapar House
124 Janpath
New Delhi, 110001
India

Johannes Urpelainen (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

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