2.6 billion people in the world only have access to 6-8 hours of electricity per day. And a lack of reliable power is especially a problem in India, where 400 million people live in rural households off the grid. As a result of not having access to grid-based power, these 400 million people rely on kerosene, which releases tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and claims about 1.5 million Indian lives a year.

Gram Power is a system of locally installed, renewable-based infrastructure in villages (usually solar panels on a cellphone tower), and a proprietary smart electricity distribution system that tackles the three main challenges of reliable energy access in India: theft and pilferage, high capital costs, and intermittent and unpredictable power supply.

There are four tenets of Gram Power’s prowess: one, the microgrid is powered by a centralized collection of solar panels, which convert sustainable solar energy to direct current electricity. Two, the clever system stores surplus energy, making it accessible during peak times, safeguarding constant access to the grid. Three, in order to avoid energy theft, and needlessly excessive consumption, homes are fitted with smart meters. Lastly, the bills can be prepaid in small increments of $1, meaning that it’s affordable to all.

The Gram Power system doesn’t just benefit families; it also serves businesses and whole communities. Consumers can use the system to operate water pumps, motors and mills, as well as standard household appliances. Electricity is sold on commission through local rural entrepreneurs, and once the community has reached the total payment for the system, it is transferred to them, enabling them to retain all subsequent profits.

With the potential to reach over 300 million people in India alone, and of saving up to $3.5 billion a year, Gram Power is set to revolutionize the energy sector, providing power to those who have struggled too long without it.

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  • Title: Gram Power
  • External Link: Gram Power - INDEX: Design to Improve Life® website
  • Sustainable Development Goals targeted: Affordable & Clean Energy
  • INDEX: Award Cycle: 2013
  • INDEX: Award Category: Community
  • Driver(s) of Change: Entrepeneurship, Globalization, Governance Devolution, Income Inequality, Intelligent Systems, Massive Disemployment, Post Fossil Fuel Energy
  • Designed By: Yashraj Khaitan
  • Country of Design : India