Tailored power solutions for villages

Sep 9, 2017   //   by admin   //   Knowledge Base  //  No Comments

Sustainability of a country largely depends upon the development of rural sectors in the country. The development at grassroots will ultimately strengthen the economy of the country. Energy reforms in villages can act as an important factor in promoting social, economic and environmental development of villages. In order to promote the growth of small – scale industries and promote a more balanced and diversified economy energy supply is an important factor. Renewable energy or Non- conventional sources of energy can replenishable , environment friendly and sustainable can play a key role in sustainability.

The conventional energy based on fossil fuels has failed to solve the rural energy crisis. Some of the basic issues of energy requirements in rural araes are lack of access to domestic lighting, decreasing availability and labour involved in dependence on traditional ways of cooking, the pressure on environment .The use of kerosene adds to the cost of living. This has drastically affected their socio -economic development. Moreover, these haven’t reached marginalised society properly yet. India is blessed to have a large potential of non-conventional energy resources as in solar energy, hydro-power, bio- gas, wind-power. The problem of energy supplies in rural areas calls for a radical approach which seeks energy supply from locally available resources like cow dung, agro-wastes etc.

For a tropical country like India solar energy is having immense scope and possibilities waiting to be explored. It has a potential to meet all energy requirements. It can be used in three different forms: –


  • Solar thermal
  • Solar photovoltaic
  • Solar passive architecture
  • Solar ground water pumps
  • Solar Lanterns


Solar thermal has applications in solar water heating systems, solar cookers, and solar dryers while solar PV can be used for electrification, water pumping. Solar power systems are even more useful for remote villages which are off-grid or have low electricity supply. These can be mounted on ground, roof or pole easily. Using solar power inverters and power back-up generators are also good options for electricity purposes in villages. Solar passive architecture is applied construction activities and is embedded in roofs.

Solar power pumping systems is a worthy and economical option for irrigational purposes. These can pump water even when there are cloudy days. They are long-lasting, mobile and have economic benefits as they save electricity bills.

Solar Lanterns are used for illuminating purposes in villages. These have inbuilt recording with a lighting element which trap sunlight and can be used later on for lighting puposes. These are portable, affordable and handy.

Using solar power inverters and power back-up generators are also good options for electricity purposes in villages. However there is still less awareness then needed for solar energy.


Firewood is indeed the most important cooking fuel in rural areas. It is mostly used for cooking and heating. Most people in villages are dependent upon firewood, traditional mud stoves, and heating especially in winter season. By encouraging production of food and fodder will also help in promoting employment in big way, in planting, maintenance, in felling of trees, in processing of trees etc. Moreover, it will have favourable ecological effects through increase in tree cover, control of floods and soil erosion.

Agricultural wastes are one of the most common fuels for cooking purposes. With the use of improved and efficient technologies it is possible to increase the scope of rice husks, cotton stalks etc. as cooking or combustion fuels. In a situation where supplies of conventional energy and sources like firewood are decreasing and alternatives are unavailable , increase in energy supplies in forms of agricultural wastes will benefit the society in general and the rural poor people. These can be also used as gasification fuel which can be later used in boilers and furnaces.

Another promising alternative technology for villages is Biomass. It can be used for cooking and lighting and to carry out simple agricultural operations. Bio- mass can be further converted into other forms. Smokeless cooking stoves are now popular these days among rural peoples. Some of the common sources of biomass are agricultural waste (corn stalks, straw, sugarcane leftovers, bagasse, and manure etc.), wood materials (wood or bark, timber etc.), crops like (sugar beet, corn). These are clean and fuel efficient stoves. They not only produce less smoke but increase the thermal efficiency of wood. It reduces labour in fuel collection, smoke, cooking time and fuel usage. It also provides employment to women in construction.

India being a country of rivers is blessed with extreme potential in Hydro-power. These have nominal environmental and licensing procedures, are simplified and require less construction works these may be developed rapidly. And since the size of equipment used is small it is easier to transport in rural areas. Micro hydropower system is a robust technology which generates electricity from a stream of water. Only a small amount of water to generate power from these. A micro hydropower upto 25W is estimated to have potential to produce 15000 MW of electricity. It is one of the most effective solutions available for power generation in villages. It can be set-up in a place with perennial source of water availability.

Although there are ample resources available but their implementation and proper installation still needs awareness among villagers. Low-cost services should be emphasized in policies for providing electricity services to low-income households. Efforts should be made to improve affordability and access of these resources to rural people as to promote development.

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