Three hundred million Indian citizens, most of whom live in rural areas, have no access to electricity. At the same time, the rapid growth of the electricity sector in India will not be sustainable if it relies on burning ever more fossil fuels. Solar energy is gaining traction in rural India because it has low capital costs, can easily be extended to remote areas and will reduce carbon emissions. This project measures demand for distributed solar power in rural Bihar, including the effects of price and competition, and the welfare effects of increased electricity access.

Project Partners

Husk Power Systems

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Husk Power Systems is a rural empowerment enterprise. It focuses on inclusive rural development on the backbone of electric power. Unlike any other effort in the world, it creates a self-sustaining ecosystem in the villages it serves, enabling economic development along with environmental protection, physical well-being and strengthening of the rural communities. A humble effort spearheaded by locals from the communities served, HPS strives to touch more than 10 million lives over the next five years, in rural areas across the world, often at the bottom of society’s priorities. A business of rural electrification that transcends the conventional ideas around delivery of electrical energy to masses, HPS has created unique models of decentralized electricity generation and distribution that can be well managed by the locals using local resources, thereby bringing the age old wisdom of self-sufficiency of villages to life. HPS is a revolution in progress that attempts to channelize the largely dissociated efforts of various stakeholders – communities, investors, entrepreneurs, businesses, government and the society at large – to bring the worldwide impoverished and under-served rural population from the bottom to the top of the list of priorities.

Tata Centre for Development at UChicago

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The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago develops innovative, integrated approaches to tackling some of India’s most pressing development issues. With generous support from the Tata Trusts, the Tata Centre combines implementation, research and executive education to execute ambitious pilots, evaluate new solutions, and spread insights to key decision-makers who can translate research findings and successful pilots into wider impact. The Centre is housed at the Harris School of Public Policy in Chicago and the University of Chicago Trust in India.