According to reports, an independent solar power producer, Azure Power, has been awarded a $476,670 grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). The grant will fund a feasibility study on two 500-kW micro-grid solar photo-voltaic power generation pilot projects in Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, the company said in a statement.
Following the study, Azure aims to set up over 100 micro-grid solar systems, with each system covering an average of 2-3 acres of rural land which would generate sufficient power to provide electricity to approximately 800-1,000 villages with little or no connectivity to existing electrical grids. The study has to be completed by 2014.
There are an estimated 58,000 villages without electricity which together provide a market potential of about 0.9 GW, the company said.
Micro grids are islands of renewable power generation, power storage and enable localised power distribution. Given the power-starved situation in several thousand Indian villages, where grid-connectivity is yet to be realised, Azure Power believes that micro-grids are a viable energy alternative for household and agricultural purposes.
The grant was signed by Mr Henry Steingass, Regional Director for USTDA, here on Monday in the presence of the US Secretary of Commerce, Mr John Bryson, at a FICCI interaction.
Ms Leocadia I. Zak, Director, USTDA said, “We are greatly enthused by the rapid growth of solar power in India in the last couple of years. However, the potential for micro-grid solar projects in the country remains largely untapped.”
“We are committed to working closely with the Indian and US companies that are looking at the micro-grid opportunities in India,” she added.