Rural Electrification through Solar Energy: Insights from Chattisgarh State of India

Meenal Jain, Meenakshi Mital, Matt Syal

Abstract


The Indian energy sector has witnessed a rapid growth in an effort tomeet the demands of a developing nation. However, continued use of fossil fuelsis set to face multiple challenges: depletion of fossil fuel reserves, global warmingand other environmental concerns, geopolitical and military conflicts and of late,continued and a significant increase in fuel price. Renewable energy is the solutionto the growing energy challenges as they are abundant, inexhaustible andenvironmentally friendly. Accelerating the use of renewable energy, specificallysolar energy, is also indispensable if India is to meet its commitments to reduceits carbon intensity. Given the vast potential of solar energy in India, all that Indianeeds is put comprehensive policies in place to be a global leader in sustainableand green energy. The Government has taken a number of steps towards improvingthe adoption of solar energy on a large scale in the country. Many programsand policies have been initiated at both the National and State levels to promotesolar energy, but its use and production in the country is still limited. On studyingone of the major initiatives of the National government, the “Remote Rural VillageElectrification” in Chhattisgarh as a case, it was found that there was a gap betweenthe policies and the actual scenario. The awareness level among the beneficiarieswas found to be very low. Thus, there is an urgent need to create awarenessamong the stakeholders regarding the government initiatives, so that solarenergy is widely accepted and used.

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