Indian energy crisis July 2012
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India experienced a significant energy crisis on Tuesday 31 July 2012 when three of its regional power grids collapsed. Over half the country was impacted on leaving 620 million people without government-supplied electricity for several hours in what was the world's biggest blackout to date.
- Hundreds of trains stalled across the country
- Traffic lights out, causing widespread traffic jams in New Delhi.
- Electric crematoria stopped operating, some with bodies half burnt
- Emergency workers rushed generators to coal mines to rescue miners trapped underground.
The massive failure - a day after a similar, but smaller power failure - has raised serious concerns about India's outdated infrastructure and the government's inability to meet its huge appetite for energy as the country aspires to become a regional economic superpower.
India's power grid has grown significantly in recent years and is now operating at or over its capacity.
However, one-third of India's households still do not even have electricity to power a light bulb, according to last year's census.
Decentralised power generation using wind power and photo voltaics is a possible solution to this problem.
 Solar solutions to India's energy crisis
10 solar projects in India that can help fight grid blackouts include:
- Solar-power microgrid service in rural villages: Startup Mera Gao Power wants to have a total of 70 villages electrified with its solar panels, cell phone charging service, and distribution lines by the end of 2012.
- One of India’s first megawatt-scale rooftop solar projects: Azure Power, a startup run by entrepreneur Inderpreet Wadhwa, is developing a project that puts solar panels on dozens of rooftops and shares revenues from power sales with the building owners.
- 600 MW of solar in Gujarat: The Indian state of Gujarat in April threw a big party to celebrate the commissioning of 600 MW of solar energy projects over a year.
- The aspirational country goal: The National Solar Mission in January 2010 set a goal of installing 20 GW of grid-connected solar and 2 GW of off-grid solar by 2022 — that’s 3 percent of the country’s power using solar by 2022.
- SunEdison experimenting with rural projects, too: While project developer SunEdison has brought 45 MW of solar projects in Gujarat online, it is also looking at how it can make solar panel projects work in rural villages.
- Selling solar like cell phone service: Startup Simpa Networks has developed a home solar panel product for off-grid customers controlled by a mobile, pay-as-you-go system.
- Solar teaming up with water use: One of SunEdison’s solar projects is a 1 MW installation over nearly half a mile of the Narmada Canal in the state of Gujarat.
- Solar lanterns: Startup d.light recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and the company has reached the goal of 7 million people using its solar-powered products (see photo) in 40 countries.
- Giant solar thermal projects: Areva Solar is building a 250 MW solar thermal project in the northwestern part of India (in the state of Rajasthan) that will use mirrors to concentrate sunshine onto water filled tubes to produce steam — steam that will drive a turbine and make electricity.
- Solar for cooking, heating, making stuff: A company called Flareum sells solar concentrating systems that can be used for cooking, and for producing steam and heat for industrial applications.
 External links
- 620 million without power: India's energy crisis as grids collapse, The Age, August 1, 2012
- India pushed into darkness with world’s biggest power outage, Green Conduct
- ↑ 10 solar projects in India that can help fight grid blackoutsThe Washington Post