Solar Power: Finally Cheaper Than Diesel For Rural Indian Microgrids

Ever stopped to think how solar power can help rural and remote communities across the globe?

A study by cleantech research company Pike Research has predicted that solar pv will play a big role in the growth of world microgrids.

These are the small energy grids for isolated communities which can power anything from villages to small islands. Mobile grids also fall in this category.

Previously the chief form of energy for these  grid systems has been diesel however the study has shown that solar energy will replace this traditional dirty form of fuel.

“Recent research…indicates that this sector is far more robust than previously reported, and with solar PV prices continuing to decline, is poised for substantial growth, even without government incentives,” said Pike senior analyst Peter Asmus in a Jan.4 company press release.

As this article from renewable energy magazine CleanTechnica shows, solar power is now cheaper than diesel in India. According to the report, French solar company Solairedirect is now offering solar power to the Indian grid at 14c (US) per kWH, undercutting the average cost of diesel at 25c.

Recently we have seen the micro state of Toukelau upgrade its inefficient and dirty diesel system of energy with solar power. (See SolarQuotes article here).

The tiny state is threatened by rising sea levels and announced at the recent climate conference in South Africa that it would change to solar power to set an example for the rest of the world.

The trend for worldwide microstates in definitely upward according to the Pike study. They predict the capacity for microgrids will increase from 349 megawatts (MW) in 2011 to a healthy 1.1 gigawatts (GW) by 2017.

It expects cheaper and more efficient solar energy to be at the centre of this expansion.

So not only will solar energy help reduce carbon emissions in countries like India, currently the third largest emitter, but also offer more affordable and efficient solar power may help millions of people in isolated communities.


  1. Since India is currently the third largest emitter of carbon and it is much cheaper to generate solar energy, the Government should play a much greater role to encourage the generation of solar energy by giving tax rebates and incentives to the solar power industry.

  2. Hi Ainuddin,

    You would be glad that one of the state in india, Gujarat has just got 600MW solar plant – India’s largest, 600 MW solar power launched at Charanka

    In the same state the govt has also launched a program called rent a roof where residents would get rent for their roofs from solar companies who install panels on their roof:

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