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Mini Grids in Asia. Sameer Kalra Sept 30 th , 2010. Mini Grid. Definition.

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mini grids in asia

Mini Grids in Asia

Sameer Kalra

Sept 30th, 2010

mini grid
Mini Grid


“An integrated energy system consisting of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (including generators, energy storage devices, and smart controls) that can operate with the utility grid or in an intentional islanding mode.”

world electrification facts
World Electrification Facts

Source: Alliance for Rural Electrification

Developing world remains largely un-electrified.

why mini grids
Why Mini Grids?
  • 1.6 billion people across the developing world remain without electricity
    • Investment requirements $9.6 trillion in the period 2001 to 2030
  • India and China are huge countries with diverse terrains
    • average cost of grid extension per km between $8,000 and $10,000, rising to around $22,000 in difficult terrains
  • China builds 1 coal power plant per week
  • India struggling to bridge gap between supply and demand
  • Huge electricity cuts in developing counties, to meet peak demand

Businesses building Mini Grids to ensure continuous electricity

technology choices
Technology Choices
  • Diesel
      • Pollution – noise / air
      • Non- Renewable – Unsustainable in the long run
      • High OPEX; transportation challenges
  • Solar
      • Most common in Asia – sun is in abundance
      • High CAPEX; ROI is longer
      • Storage issues
  • Wind/Hydro
      • Not suitable for all terrains
      • Transmission between point of generation and consumption
      • Storage issues

Hybrid Mini Grids are optimal

technology decision tree
Technology Decision Tree

Source: World Bank

Choose the right technology based on ground conditions

critical factors for project success
Critical Factors for Project Success
  • Technology choice
  • Sustainability
  • Financing
  • Affordability
  • Community Involvement
  • Regulatory impact
  • Environmental considerations
  • Opportunities to initiate and enhance productive activities and applications
case study 1 scatec solar solar pv based mini grid in 150 households in india
Case Study 1 – Scatec SolarSolar PV based Mini Grid in 150 households in India

Project financing

  • Public private model
  • CAPEX by Scatec Solar
  • Tariffs based on the price of kerosene and diesel.
  • Revenue model = OPEX + renewable components

Project Outcome

  • Round the clock electricity
  • Enhance economic activity and productivity

Main challenges

  • Develop sustainable and scalable business models (with focus on local revenue models)
  • Develop an effective, global incentive mechanism to facilitate and accelerate a large-scale roll-out of CSPPs


  • Govt and community support is essential
  • Empowerment and education of local population
case study 2 sma solar off grid power supply for 190 villages
Case Study 2 – SMA Solaroff-grid power supply for 190 villages


  • Chinese government program to provide rural areas with decentralized power supply systems, mainly PV

Renewable Opportunity

  • Installation of 190 village electrification systems with diesel generator as backup


  • German Bank of Reconstruction and the Chinese Ministry of Finance


  • Modularity of the system allows easy system adjustment to the demands of the energy supplier or the end-users
  • System integrators like SolarWorld and Schott Solar are adept at connecting these new technologies successfully.
case study 3 solarworld ag pv based renewable energy to 7000 homes in china
Case Study 3 - SolarWorld AGPV-based renewable energy to 7000 homes in China


  • Rural Electrification

Renewable Opportunity

  • Good irradiation condition for Solar PV


  • Multi-crystalline solar PV
  • Backup diesel generator to reduce battery size


  • German Bank of Reconstruction and the Chinese Ministry of Finance


  • 142 villages with 30,000 people were electrified
case study 4 urban township in india townships building malls
Case Study 4 – Urban Township in IndiaTownships/Building/Malls


  • Builders such as Reliance, Nano City promoters


  • Developments in planning stages


  • Intermittent supply of electricity at peak load


  • Supply: storage and distributed generation (renewable and non-renewable sources)
  • Demand: consumption devices including lighting, HVAC, and IT equipment
  • Energy management platform: to optimize energy supply and demand
  • Environmental factors: such as weather, pricing, and comfort
entrepreneurial opportunities
Technology Transfer

Energy Storage

Smart Grids

Renewable Integration

System integration, project management

Energy Efficiency

Carbon Management

Building Management


Metering Services

S/W for technology optimization

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

More opportunities exist in townships/MDUs rather than in rural electrification

  • Scalable and repeatable business models
    • No cookie cutter models
  • Land acquisition for solar installations
  • Cost/kWh for diesel still cheaper than renewable alternatives
    • Focus on CAPEX versus OPEX
  • Country-specific utility permitting requirements