SunEdison, a leading solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services, and Omnigrid Micropower Company Pvt. Ltd. (OMC Power), a power company committed to transforming the provision of electricity in rural India into a commercially viable, sustainable and scalable business, have signed an agreement to develop 5,000 rural projects.
The projects represent 250MW of electricity throughout India over the next three to five years.
Approximately 400 million people in India have no access to electricity. Those who do have access are forced to use unreliable and expensive fossil fuel-based options.
Increasing power access through solar
Building on the 36kW micro-power plants OMC Power has already put in place across India as part of a sustainable and reliable rural electrification plan, the new partnership will bring electricity to 10 million additional people.
Says Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison. "Solar electricity costs have come down dramatically and continue to come down, thus making it a better choice than conventional fossil sources. We don't have to make a false choice between cost and clean power any more. While a 1GW coal power plant can take 3 to 4 years to be developed and constructed, and a nuclear power plant of similar capacity can take 5 to 10 years, a solar photovoltaic power plant can be developed and built in less than a year and can compete on costs." [Engerati – Solar To Compete With Fossil Fuel Prices in India.]
Pashupathy Gopalan, President of SunEdison's Asia Pacific Operations added: "SunEdison is currently building 60 mini-grids across India - this initiative will further accelerate our efforts towards the Prime Minister's Energy Vision of making electricity available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
Reliable power for the poor
The partnership leverages the expertise of each company, including technical know-how, local and telecom knowledge from OMC and project development and financing expertise from SunEdison. SunEdison and OMC have an offering that can help telecommunication organizations meet their regulatory requirements and provide energy to local communities while still going off-grid.
The co-founders of OMC Power, Anil Raj and Rohit Chandra, said: "Our Renewable Energy Services Company model is a proven and commercially viable approach which provides an immediate and substantial improvement in the quality of life in energy-deprived areas, while stimulating economic growth and prosperity. Our agreement with SunEdison is a huge step forward both for our company and for the people of rural India."
We wrote recently how microgrids are being viewed as a primary strategy for rural electrification in India in our article More Microgrids Coming To Remote Villages In India. Microgrids will not only give power to those who desperately need it, it will also help support demand management and help reduce or eliminate load shedding and blackouts.