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Transforming lives through solar mini-grids

Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of US-based impact investor Rockefeller Foundation, has supported the setting up of more than 300 renewable energy mini-grids cumulating to 9.2 MW of capacity across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand, the largest such cluster in India. Jaideep Mukherjee, chief executive officer at SPI, spoke to pv magazine about the role of mini-grids in rural upliftment and the barriers to overcome.

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Tata Power to exit coal by 2050

The energy company says it will use hybrid-technology projects, round-the-clock renewables, battery storage, floating solar and green hydrogen as it attempts to wind down the 69% of its energy generation fleet based on thermal power.

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Mini-grid company Husk Power doubled revenues in 2020

Bihar-based Husk Power Systems—which operates more than 100 mini-grids in India and Africa—recorded a 90% year-on-year growth in revenues and quadrupled business customers to 5000+. It expects the growth momentum to continue in 2021, with a 125% rise in revenues. 

CSIR-CMERI develops solar-biodiesel powered mini-grid

The renewables-powered mini-grid with 50kW peak system capacity was recently installed at the residential colony of the institute’s Center for Excellence in Farm Machinery (CoEFM) in Punjab. It uses solar trees of different capacities and biodiesel-run generators to provide uninterrupted power. 

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Powering to empower rural India

Smart Power India, a subsidiary of US-based impact investor The Rockefeller Foundation, was established in India in 2015 with the aim of extending power to those without sufficient access to reliable and quality electricity. Jaideep Mukherji, CEO, Smart Power India, speaks to pv magazine about their work in India and way forward.

IFC says green recovery could drive $2.5tn renewables market this decade

The private-sector arm of the World Bank, which claims to leverage $3 of its own capital and $8 from third parties for every dollar invested in its blended finance funds, has attempted to quantify what devoting Covid recovery funds to green investment would mean for emerging economies.

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New method to build microgrids based on solar, hydrogen

The use of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells as backup power generation in solar microgrids could drive down costs and improve efficiency, according to an international group of researchers. They have proposed a new energy management system that could be ideal for hybrid solar-hydrogen microgrids in remote locations.

The case for distributed solar with storage

Gopal Lal Somani, a former director at the Jaipur-based Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd (RRECL), says distributed solar systems with storage are the key to achieving India’s mission of supplying clean energy at an affordable cost to all. In this article, he dwells on the benefits and techno-commercial feasibility of these systems for the nation.

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India re-elected as President of the International Solar Alliance

Launched in November 2015, the alliance aims to collectively address key challenges to the scaling up of solar energy in member countries that fall between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. The Alliance is now supported by 68 member countries, and a further 20 countries are in the process of becoming members.

The long read: Packing light

Tens of thousands of health facilities in low- and middle-income countries lack reliable electricity, contributing to high rates of maternal mortality. Health workers struggling in near darkness use candles, kerosene lanterns, or cellphones to provide illumination for critical procedures. They ask patients to pay for candles, batteries for flashlights, or kerosene for lanterns – a barrier to health care for women living in extreme poverty. We Care Solar designs and delivers pre-wired compact Solar Suitcases for maternal health care facilities in the developing world. This all-in-one solar+storage solution for childbirth evolved from a doctoral student’s research project, and is being scaled worldwide to ensure that no woman gives birth in the dark.

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