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Understanding the Impact of Rural Electrification: Evidence from the SPRD Initiative

Globally, over 1 billion people still live without electricity. Roughly 237 million of these people are in India.

Smart Power for Rural Development (SPRD) is a $75 million initiative aimed at accelerating development in India’s least electrified states. Through the deployment of decentralized renewable energy mini-grids, SPRD works to accelerate the growth of rural economies, while at the same time improving the lives and livelihoods of poor and marginalized families and communities. With access to energy, individuals, households, and communities can generate economic opportunities and enhance their quality of life.

Understanding the Impact of Rural Electrification has generated significant insights on how SPRD is having an impact on the lives of villagers, and what more is needed to sustain, grow, and scale these gains. We’ve learned that households and businesses are slowly but surely moving up the energy ladder; enterprises are expanding and new ones are being created as a result of energy access, and women are feeling safer and more mobile after dark. In this report, we also introduce the innovative GDP+ approach which, which quantifies and measures the social, economic and environmental gains of access to electricity in GDP terms. The initial findings here show that SPRD villages experienced an $18.50 per capita increase in GDP+.