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In India, living off the grid has its benefits

August 02, 2012

As large swaths of India were in the dark this week after a massive power outage hit half the population, some of the country’s more remote communities had light.

Husk Power Systems Mini Power Plant

Husk's mini power-plants serve remote villages that are off the central utility grid.

Those communities, once restricted by their locations far from central electric utility grids, have in more recent years benefited from innovation that has enabled them to generate their own power.

Shortly before this week’s devastating power outage, The Times of India highlighted how Husk Power Systems – an OPIC loan recipient – has developed a low-cost solution to a large-scale problem. Husk has developed a series of mini power plants throughout rural India that generate light and electricity by burning rice husks, the hard protective coatings that are typically discarded in the rice milling process.

This profile of Husk Power Systems explains how the Husk power plants are designed to be so simple to operate that village people with limited education can be trained to manage and run them.  While the technology was initially developed as a practical solution for serving remote villages, it is also being recognized as the sort of next generation solution that will become increasingly important to a growing world.


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