Solar Microgrids in Rural India

A Case Study of Household Benefits


  • Debalina Chakravarty St. Xavier’s University
  • Joyashree Roy Asian Institute of Technology



Modern Energy Services; Energy-efficient Appliances; Frontier Rebound Effect; Rural Household; Solar Microgrid.


This study evaluates the benefits that rural households in India derive from dedicated solar microgrid service systems. A case study was conducted in Lakshmipura-Jharla, Rajasthan, a village in western India with significant potential for producing solar energy. In 2013, a private investor set up a solar microgrid in the village and distributed energy-efficient appliances. Its goal was to give poor households access to modern energy services. The study data were collected through a survey conducted among randomly selected households in the village. The survey found that such an electricity provision service had multidimensional benefits: flexible use of the energy service, more effective time allocation among women, more study time for students, improved indoor air quality, and safer public places. Given the initial unmet demand for modern energy in the village, technological interventions supported by policy has helped to expand consumption possibilities and new demand for services has emerged. The household-level frontier rebound effect is estimated to be more than 100%, reflecting a one-and-a-half times increase in the demand for illumination services among rural households. Frontier rebound effect estimates help quantify the benefits of solar microgrids and energy-efficient appliances for households in rural areas...


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Author Biographies

Debalina Chakravarty, St. Xavier’s University

Assistant Professor in Economics, Faculty of Arts and Social Studies, St. Xavier’s University, Action Area III, Newtown, Kolkata, West Bengal – 700160

Joyashree Roy, Asian Institute of Technology

Bangabandhu Chair Professor, Asian Institute of Technology, 58M009 Paholyothin Highway Rd, Khlong Nueng, Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani-12120, Thailand; and Professor of Economics (on lien) and Founder Advisor - Global Change Programme, Jadavpur University,  118 Raja S.C. Mallik Road, Jadavpur, Kolkata, West Bengal- 700032


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