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Stimulating Rural Development Through Energy Access

This is the second Smart Power Impact Report that The Rockefeller Foundation has published as part of Sambodhi’s independent monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the Foundation’s investments in decentralized renewable energy in India.

With each round of impact monitoring and reporting over a period of three years, our understanding of the impact of access to reliable electricity on households and enterprises in rural villages of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand has deepened. This report provides credible evidence on the impact of mini-grids on village economies, jobs, health, and general well-being – and suggests a relationship between electricity consumption and economic growth. This evidence provides a compelling rationale for further supporting the acceleration of rural electrification in developing countries– where 840 million people today remain unconnected.

With recent advancements in the government grid, we are now learning more about the complex and nuanced relationship that households and enterprises have with both mini-grids and the government grid. This report discusses this often-symbiotic relationship and tests our assumptions about the factors of uptake in energy consumption and preferences in rural India.