Smart Villages Bangalore Forward Look Workshop

Mini-grid Energy Generation, Storage and Transmission technology in India, for the next 10 years

Solar and hybrid renewable minigrids are predicted to play a large role in the coming efforts to electrify those without access to electricity services. India currently has 240 million1 such people living without electricity.  Along with smaller scale off-grid renewable energy technologies like ‘picosolar lanterns’ and solar home systems, minigrids –systems between 1 to 1000 kilowatts – are already having an impact. Though the acceleration of the uptake of minigrids faces a variety of barriers, much progress is occurring for their roll out. At the same time, much work is going into fundamental technical research that may have an impact on future deployments. A lot has been made of advances in solar panel efficiency, and the drop in cost of manufacture of the silicon solar cell and potential for other photovoltaic materials, but there have equally been advances in smart electronic control technology and innovative progress in storage for minigrids.


This workshop aims to look at the state of current research on the many aspects of minigrid technologies with a particular focus on control and storage technologies for minigrids, in academia and industry, which will have an effect on the future market (particularly the Indian market) in the next 5-10 years.

Key questions:

What are the advances in ‘smart’ electrical control technologies, new types of storage, and new means of integrating photovoltaics with diesel/batteries/other technologies that might have a real impact on Indian rural electrification in the coming 5-10 years? What are some on-the-ground characteristics of remote rural life that technology researchers need to be made more aware of to have impact? What would it take (reduction in cost, charging regimes, end to central grid electricity subsidies etc.) to make mini-grids commercially viable in India?

Issues of grid integration: many villages have a grid connection but it is poor. What is needed to ensure mini-grids can be integrated with the grid? What are the pros and cons of doing so? In Europe and North America there is much discussion about radically different electricity system architectures in the future with much more local generation. Do these forward looking views resonate with possible futures in India, though starting from a very different place?


The workshop will be for academics, students, policymakers, business people and NGO practitioners interested in sustainable energy and rural electrification.

If you are a student at an Indian University and would like to present a poster at the workshop you can apply for one of a limited number of places to attend. If you are interested, please fill out the application form here.

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