At a time when the lack of reliable and affordable energy hinders the growth of socio-economic development opportunities for the rural population; solar energy has emerged as a promising renewable energy source for rural India.
Importance of solar power in rural India –
- Enhances productivity by providing with basic amenities
- Employment generation
- Drop-in capital cost and improve inefficiency
- Sustainable livelihood and protects the ecosystem
- Bridging the socio-economic infrastructural gap
- Cleaner and safer alternative
Recent initiatives are taken by the centre –
- Kiran urja Surakhsha utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) –
- Aims to provide farmers with advanced solar-based technology to meet farm requirement as well as generate income.
- Features include the construction of solar power plants, distribution of solar-powered pumps, installation of new solar pumps in farms with diesel pumps, power generation from tube wells.
- Provision for farmers to earn by selling excess amount of energy to the grid.
- Saubhagya Yojana
- Providing Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) based standalone system for unelectrified households located in areas where grid extension is not feasible.
- Other schemes helping in the growth of rural India include UDAY (aims at reforming power sector), solar rooftop, solar study lamps.
However, these initiatives face certain challenges such as implementation, funding, lack of awareness, etc.
Way forward –
- Encouraging private participation with support from commercial and developmental institutions such as NABARD.
- Solar based infrastructure development in Agri marketing (e.g. solar power-based storage facilities)
- Increased public awareness, enhanced participation from State and Local governments.
Solar energy has helped rural India shine bright. Adoption of solar power can better socio-economic fabric of rural India. The progress in this regard is encouraging, and it has to be maintained to make the future of rural India bright.