Access to energy has been a lynchpin for the progress of modern civilization in the last century. However, a large fraction of the world's population still remains without electricity. Recent improvements in affordable, renewable energy generation technology, offer us the unique opportunity to realize the dream of global electrification. In this paper, we discuss how academia can translate into successfully meeting the needs of rural development via the Live-in-Labs™ program - an experiential learning initiative in rural India. Through the program, 35 post graduate university students and 15 staff and faculty designed, developed, and deployed a solar microgrid for the electrification of a tribal village in South India. In order to encourage academia to become involved more easily in such rural development programs, we describe our approach from pre-study to post deployment analysis and monitoring. We present practical tips and advice for project organisation, technical design, as well the implementation phase, accompanied with feedback from students. This project introduced tribal villagers to a new world of technology, promoting education and kindling long lasting enthusiasm in the village and students were offered a unique hands-on experience, changing their outlook on life.
cited By 0; Conference of 6th Annual IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2016 ; Conference Date: 13 October 2016 Through 16 October 2016; Conference Code:126376
Fabien Chidanand Robert, Ramanathan, U., ,, Durga, P., and R. Mohan, “When academia meets rural India: Lessons learnt from a MicroGrid implementation”, in 2016 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), 2016, pp. 156-163.