Situated in Uttar Pradesh, Atrauli’s electricity revolution has lit up people’s lives, quite literally. Last October, a Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) invested its first solar plant in Atrauli, showing healthy signs of progress. Irregular power supply and expensive generators are no more a matter of concern amongst its residents.
Being an Omnigrid Micropower Company, RESCO provides energy from renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics, wind power and micro hydro. Private mini-grids with capacity of 10 to 500 watts—like the one set up in Atrauli are playing a significant role in generating solar power.
Going by reports on Livemint, Uttar Pradesh is the only state in India that has developed a policy in line with mini-grids. The policy intends to support 20mn households, which covers one-tenth of its population. In addition, the policy ensures the excess energy is not wasted. In such cases, there are two exit options for areas with sufficient grid supply. Either the project can be transferred to the distribution company, or it can receive energy from the mini-grids at an agreed tariff.
A 30% state subsidy is offered for renewable energy-based mini-grids such as wind, biomass or water. The grids are expected to provide eight hours of power for domestic purpose, and six hours for commercial usage.
According to Kumarankandath, a renewable energy researcher, “Mini-grids use the potential of untapped renewable energy and manage demand efficiently by generating power at the source of consumption.”
The base package from OMC Power costs US$1.7 per month. A switchboard, an LED bulb and a socket for charging mobile phones is given as part of the package. Additional lights, fan and even a television can be plugged in.