The ‘Clean Slate Advantage’ – Solar Microgrids

by Fred Abler

Technology adoption is a complicated business. For example, why is that countries with the least amount of technology are often the most willing to adopt the latest tech?  The answer is something called ‘a clean slate advantage’.

A previous post speculated that renewable energy sources and advances in battery tech would lead to the overthrow of AC.  Houses, commercial buildings, and even ships are starting to be entirely wired for DC. A trend I called Direct DC.

Now comes a story from rural India about village-scale DC Grids being used to provide power for lighting and cell phones. These Solar MicroGrids are being developed by two entrepreneurs who started the renewable micro-power company Mera Gao Power.

Fig.1 –   LED lighting from Solar Microgrids by Mera Gao Power, which is helping rural Indians replace kersone lighting with cheaper and cleaner LEDs, and local cell-phone recharging.

The secret to success for solar microgrids? It’s all in the wiring. The village is carefully mapped to ensure the most efficient distribution lines, and Nikhil Jaisinghani explains “This mapping and design is our biggest innovation “.

The 24-volt DC microgrids also cleverly use aluminum wiring instead of the much more expensive copper wiring required for high voltage AC power grids. This reduces costs, eliminates theft (copper wiring), and circuit-breakers even trip if freeloaders try to tap in.

In short –  The ‘Clean Slate’ advantage is real. To be on the cutting edge of Direct DC you’ll need to visit with some of the 400 million inhabitants of rural India. Oh, and bring your cellphone!

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