- Agriculture and Food Security
- Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
- Economic Growth and Trade
- Environment and Global Climate Change
- Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
- Global Health
- Science, Technology and Innovation
- Development Innovation Ventures
- Data & Analytics for Development
- Frontiers in Development
- Grand Challenges for Development
- Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN)
- International Research & Science Programs
- Leveraging Universities
- Mobile Solutions
- Science at USAID
- Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention
- Water and Sanitation
- Working in Crises and Conflict
THE NEED: 61 million households in India do not have electricity. Communities resort to low quality sources of energy such as kerosene, wood, diesel, candles, and disposable batteries.
THE SOLUTION: Mera Gao Power has developed a low cost micro grid tailored to the needs of off-grid villages. Mera Gao Micro Grid Power (MGP) will construct and operate approximately 40 new village-level micro grid lighting facilities to reach 4,000 new customers and 20,000 new beneficiaries in Sitapur districts of Uttar Pradesh, India.
COST EFFECTIVENESS: The average off-grid household spends Rs. 150 per month on kerosene, producing dim and dirty lighting from a single kerosene lantern. For Rs. 70 per month, MGP provides its customers with two lights that are more than ten times brighter than a kerosene lantern.
In a village less than a half hour drive from the industrial city of Kanpur, a family eats by kerosene and candlelight. Limited access to a national grid that already experiences rolling blackouts from burdensome demand levels keeps their home in the dark. They, and the other 350 households in the area, typically spend Rs. 150 per month on unclean kerosene fuel alone.
Scaling the problem up, the Government of India estimates that 61 million base of the pyramid households and 300 million people live without electricity. More than 600 million people in South Asia lack access to electricity, and worldwide the figure is approximately 1.4 billion.
The World Resources Institute estimates that off-grid energy in India is a $2 billion a year untapped market. USAID/DIV will support Mera Gao Micro Grid Power (MGP) with a grant of $300,000 to demonstrate a commercially viable, easily replicable micro grid design that uses a solar-powered lighting system; and use rigorous analytical methods to assess the development impact of these micro grids on the lives of MGP’s customers.
MGP will provide rooftop solar photovoltaic panels that villages can afford communally. MGP’s service is anticipated to alleviate 4,000 household’s dependency on kerosene, reducing kerosene consumption by 144,000 liters per year. By doing so, carbon emissions will be reduced by an estimated 400 tons per year.
MGP anticipates that customer households will experience fewer respiratory conditions, increased time children spend studying, and increased income. The support from USAID/DIV will also allow researchers to clearly measure the impact of micro grids on these social indicators; if the results are positive, USAID’s investment could attract greater levels of social investment into the sector, potentially impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Last updated: February 19, 2013