NEW YORK, UNITED STATES/DELHI, INDIA—The Rockefeller Foundation and OMC Power have reached a US$4.5 million deal to finance OMC Power’s construction and retrofitting of 100 solar power plants with mini-grids, in rural Uttar Pradesh.
The financial arrangement is part of the Foundation’s Smart Power for Rural Development (SPRD) initiative aimed to provide reliable electricity to 1,000 villages and promote rural economic development.
A mini-grid is a decentralized power distribution infrastructure. Renewable energy producing companies deploy mini-grids to provide electricity to rural villages where power access is either unavailable or inadequately available.
“There’s a need for significant investment in expanding off-grid energy access that can power both domestic and business activities, and the kind of financing we provide can enable committed companies such as OMC Power to build the mini-grid sector. We strongly believe that, over time, we will encourage the growing pool of renewable energy financing to move towards mini-grids” said Ashvin Dayal, The Rockefeller Foundation’s associate vice president and managing director, Asia.
“Gaining access to power will open up tremendous entrepreneurial potential, creating more jobs, spurring new businesses and increasing overall productivity,” added Mr. Dayal. “Ultimately, this is about promoting a more inclusive economic future, expanding opportunities for millions of people in underserved rural areas, especially the poor and vulnerable.”
“The mini-grids of OMC Power, one of rural India’s largest renewable power producing companies, will serve thousands of households and microenterprises, and power telecom towers in underserved villages.”
The mini-grids of OMC Power, one of rural India’s largest renewable power producing companies, will serve thousands of households and microenterprises, and power telecom towers in underserved villages. Apart from the economic and social benefits to the local population, the mini-grids will lead to a reduction in diesel consumption bringing further health and environmental benefits.
“We are proud to partner with The Rockefeller Foundation in our quest to bring affordable and reliable power to millions of power-deprived people and become a world leader in the rural power market,” said Rohit Chandra, managing director of OMC Power.
With a commitment to 24×7 supply of power throughout India by 2022, the Indian government has demonstrated strong leadership on rural electrification and has recognized mini-grids as a viable option for extending energy access in rural locations. Studies also show that mini-grids can play a key role in providing reliable and affordable energy access to the expanding grid system.
“We are growing a sustainable rural utility business that not only creates value for our shareholders but also furthers energy access, entrepreneurship, economic development and social empowerment in rural India,” added Mr. Rohit Chandra.
More About Smart Power for Rural Development:
The Rockefeller Foundation, a U.S.-based philanthropic organization, has launched the US$75 million Smart Power for Rural Development initiative since April 2015. The initiative’s Smart Power model is an innovative way to deliver clean energy via decentralized mini-grids. Under the model, an anchor tenant (a local cell tower, for example) would serve as the base demand for power and make it viable for an energy service company to build a power plant which is large enough to serve both lighting and productive load. With this structure in place, the company is able to deliver power to local businesses, benefiting new and future local enterprises and homes.
The Foundation created Smart Power for Rural Development India Foundation, an Indian-run
organization headquartered in Delhi, to work with local partners in India to reach our collective goal of bringing electricity to underserved villages in India.
Established in 2011, OMC Power is a multi-award-winning rural power company that finances, builds and operates village-level solar power plants with mini-grid distribution. It is one of the largest mini-grid companies in India, with an aim to build thousands of new plants in the coming years.
OMC Power’s mini-grids supply electricity to telecom networks, which serve as anchor customers for the company. Due to the presence of anchor loads, schools, health clinics, enterprises and homes throughout the surrounding village also benefit from the availability of reliable and clean energy.