Evaluation of Indian rural solar electrification: A case study in Chhattisgarh
Journal article, 2012
Despite the considerable efforts spent on village electrification schemes in India, there is a general lack of evaluation of impacts, successes and of failures. A case study in Chhattisgarh state in India has been carried out to assess what effect village electrification through solar power has had for the beneficiaries and whether technical and maintenance factors provide for the desired results set by Indian rural electrification policy. Consequences for the beneficiaries have been investigated through a field survey conducted in eleven villages with 158 respondents, maintenance factors have been investigated through interviews with engineers and operators, and technical factors through analysis of electricity output from micro-grids.
In villages where the systems had been installed in the past two years, children studied on average 41 min more in the evenings, more than twice as much as before electrification. Dinner cooking commenced on average 36 min later, a sign of higher flexibility of time use and thus of women's empowerment. Furthermore, the median household monthly kerosene use decreased by 2 l, or 67%, but commercial productive activities were found to be limited.
75% of the 69 micro-grid power plants evaluated were found to have too little output to supply for the stated 6 h of daily light per household, and the capacity installed per household decreased with village size. Plant capacity factors were found to vary greatly, most likely an effect of poor installation and/or inferior components. A tendency to replace energy-saving lights with incandescent lights requiring more power per lumen was found, leading to a decrease in obtainable light output.
Remote village electrification
Solar home system