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Success story: Empowering rural India

Accelerating rural India’s access to electricity


The Indian government has embarked on an ambitious rural electrification plan to provide access to electricity to rural India and thereby, transform communities. However, a significant gap remains between electricity supply and demand in rural India. Rockefeller Foundation and its subsidiary, Smart Power India, established Smart Power for Rural Development (SPRD), an innovative, market-based program, to address the situation.

The objective of the SPRD program is to encourage commercially viable models that can enhance energy access to rural India. Accenture has supported both The Rockefeller Foundation and Smart Power India over a two-and-a-half-year period, helping them to program manage the early mini grid plants and accelerate their objective of expanding opportunities for renewable energy-based mini-grids in rural India.

Increased access to electricity has led to social and economic betterment of people in rural India through the creation of new business opportunities, better use of public facilities, and improved perception of safety and security.


Phase 1: We helped the Rockefeller Foundation program manage 81 early mini-grid plants in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We also designed and implemented a web-based dashboard to allow real time oversight on plant set up and operations.

Phase 2: We helped Smart Power India in strategic partner search – to find companies who are willing to setup and operate mini-grids in rural India. This resulted in MoUs with two energy service companies (ESCOs) for 180 villages. This partner search was followed by an analysis of the mini-grid business model to help stakeholders evaluate its feasibility. Subsequently, standard operating procedures were developed to guide new players in mini-grid operations. Once the plants were operational, their commercial performance was analyzed to identify key drivers and improvement areas. This resulted in identifying interventions to increase unit-level operating margins from 30 percent to 60 percent over a three-year period.


The SPRD Program is shaping the nascent and challenging RE-based mini grid sector into a win-win proposition for both the private sector and the rural populace, supporting seven partner ESCOs. Currently, these businesses operate 106 renewable energy-based mini-grid plants, impacting approximately 40,142 lives across the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Overall, the mini-grid businesses are not only establishing a distributed electricity generation and distribution infrastructure, but are also helping the government in achieving its target of providing 24x7 power to people in rural India and reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuel.