Inderscience Publishers

Socio-economic aspects of an off-grid SPV power supply system in an island village in India

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The electrification of five villages in Sagardeep island in south Bengal by the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) with lighting and power by Solar Photo-voltaic (SPV) devices, in line with the concept originating more than three decades ago and culminating in launching countrywide rural electrification, is clearly a successful venture. But there are distinct implifications. Under the programme of Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), resources are based on conventional and polluting fuel, whereas an SPV off-grid power supply system works on clean environmental technology. The impact on society in terms of a better illumination level with respect to kerosene lanterns and exposure to entertainment through electronic media, is of great significance. Economically, both consumers and suppliers of power are gainers. To the former, electricity at his/her disposal is the ingredient to raise his/her standard of living and to the latter, a non-polluting world class technology has been made applicable in a sustainable manner for a class of people needing special attention for development. The cost-benefit signals a positive advantage in places where conventional power supply through an extension of the grid line is not possible. These power supply units on the island are the beginning of a large program in the days to come, to meet domestic, commercial, small agricultural and tiny industrial load demand in remote areas, with the potential for the price of energy per kWh moving downwards against the upward trend of conventional power.

Keywords: India, SPU power supply system, electrification

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