You’ve heard of micro-finance for developing countries–now, meet the micro-grid. Mera Gao (“My Village” in Hindi) Micro Grid Power (MGP) provides solar power to rural communities with a unique combination of distributed solar panels, battery banks, low-voltage distribution, and super-efficient LED lights.
This community-based solar power scheme works, first, by installing photovoltaic solar panels sufficient to power the village–for a village of 100 households, for example, approximately 600 watt peak capacity of solar panels would be installed on the rooftops of one or two homes. Power generated during the day is then routed to two battery banks (one for each array), so when the sun goes down, this power can be routed via low-voltage transmission lines over the short distance necessary to bring light to two to four LED lamps in each household.
The combination of short transmission distances coupled with super-efficient lighting allows the Micro Grid Power solar power system to provide a minimum 15 percent return on investment, (and reportedly can actually produce profits of 30 percent or more), all while providing power at a low cost to households.
This system is one of the contenders in GE’s Ecomagination Challenge this year, which is focused on powering the homes of the future–you can vote your support for Micro Grid Power in this year’s competition online.