Renewable Energy in Rural India: Empowerment or Divide

Manik Garg  
Director , Saatvik Group

Manik Garg is the Director of Saatvik Solar. He completed his B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce and MSc in Finance from the London School of Economics. He is responsible for facilitating new business development vertically and geographically and is also involved in the work of other group businesses.

The influence of renewable energy in rural India is diverse, having both uplifting and possibly divisive implications. The installation of renewable energy infrastructure in rural regions, such as solar panels, has the potential to provide major beneficial results. It can supply energy to areas that previously lacked stable power sources, boosting people’s quality of life by allowing them to use contemporary conveniences. 


Furthermore, renewable energy projects frequently generate job possibilities in rural regions, thus boosting economic growth and alleviating poverty. Local citizens may be trained to install, operate, and maintain renewable energy systems, which promotes skill development and entrepreneurship.


However, there are worries that renewable energy initiatives could exacerbate the digital gap in rural India. While access to power is an important step in closing the gap, the advantages of renewable energy may not be distributed evenly among the population. For example, underprivileged populations, such as those from lower castes or tribes, may encounter difficulties in accessing and profiting from renewable energy projects owing to socioeconomic gaps, a lack of awareness, or insufficient infrastructure.


Indeed, the potential benefits are significant, ranging from improved quality of life to economic development and skill enhancement. However, it’s crucial to address concerns about equitable distribution and inclusivity.


Policymakers and stakeholders need to prioritize inclusive development strategies to mitigate the risk of exacerbating existing inequalities. This could involve targeted outreach programs to raise awareness and provide training opportunities for marginalized communities. Additionally, ensuring fair access to renewable energy infrastructure, such as subsidies or community-based initiatives, can help bridge the gap.


To offset the possible negative consequences of renewable energy projects on the digital divide, it is critical to promote inclusive and participatory techniques that include local people in the development, execution, and ownership of renewable energy programs. This might involve targeted outreach and capacity-building initiatives to ensure that all citizens benefit from and contribute to the transition to renewable energy. Furthermore, authorities should prioritise investments in digital infrastructure alongside renewable energy initiatives to ensure that rural populations can access both power and digital resources, promoting fair growth.