India could soon move forward on smart grid projects

The Indian government is looking to back around eight smart grid pilot projects in the country worth close to $100 million, according to an article in The Economic Times of India (hat tip Panchabuta). India’s Power Ministry will reportedly solicit proposals from at least a dozen state utilities, then choose around eight of those plans that could cost between $9 million to $11 million each.
The Ministry is reportedly supposed to provide half of the cost of the projects, while the utilities will pay for the other half. The projects will focus on helping the utilities add in clean power — the Indian government has a plan to add 20 GW of solar by 202o — as well as reduce power outages.
For a rapidly developing nation, India has a one of the world’s most constrained grids. For cities that have grid power, there are routine rolling blackouts across the country. There’s just not enough power generation sources for the 1.2 billion population — which is one of the reasons for the country’s interest in solar.
Much of the country doesn’t have access to grid power. To meet that need, distributed solar is also a growing technology, and earlier this year, I reported on a startup called Simpa Networks that’s looking to sell micro solar panels like cellphone service.