Mendare Village Karnatanka Microgrid

Community · Operational
Working with local NGO to provide reliable access to a vulnerable community

The Mendare Village Microgrid is a solar microgrid in India by SELCO foundation in Karnataka.

About the site

There are a number of un-electrified communities in the forest area surrounding Male Mahadeshwara, a temple town south of Bangalore, Karnataka. These communities are typically remote and access is often via a stone & gravel road, passable by jeep or walking. Hence, providing services to these areas is difficult. The communities do not have grid power, but a number of households have installed solar-home-systems. The Mysore branch of SELCO India has installed more than 170 SHS in this area, as well as three pump systems, and light-for-education systems. The area is a good demonstration of renewable energy providing power where grid infrastructure cannot reach. Mendare is one such village, where there are 22 houses clustered together, with around 5-8 others nearby. The village is home to a tribal community which has land to grow staple crops. Other sources of income are basket weaving, and these are sold around the temple at MM hills. Water is available from streams at the bottom of the valley, or at the school which children attend 20 minutes walk away. Children sometimes beg at the temple for money, and generally the income levels of households are very low. Houses are generally made of mud and thatch, with some brick structures. The village is spread out in a line on top of a hill. Forest PV and battery Dirt Path access 22 houses along ridge of hill Mendare Poor road access to MM hills Nearby villages, end of road access Subsistence farms Forest Open well Water collection point.

The Model – Platform Microgrid

With remote and vulnerable communities it is important to build a sustainable project which can help in development. Often, free and low quality solar home systems or solar streetlights are given to these communities, which quickly fail and do not offer opportunity for other services apart from lighting to be provided.

The model being piloted is therefore:

  1. Provide for the immediate needs of the community with the most appropriate technology.
  2. Match the communities ability to pay, including how much they can pay and how often.
  3. Build up a reliable collection and monitoring mechanism with the community.
  4. Establish which services could be introduced later, building on-top of the existing infrastructure and operational model established.

Following this model at Mendare:

  1. Lighting and mobile charging are provided
  2. The community can pay 1000Rs annually, matching their seasonal income from farming.
  3. Myrada, a strong local partner, will collect this amount from the community
  4. The Rural Community Labs are now engaged in establishing future services to be introduced. The project was financed by Armstrong Energy Foundation with a Rs.3,80,000 grant. This allowed the collection to be put towards maintenance of the system.


Organizations Involved

Additional Details

Transmission: 48VDC overhead wiring

Household connection: Service lines taken to house, junction box inside house

Household wiring: Copper with standard consumables Load control: Fuses for each house limit power consumption. Timing is centrally & manually controlled by Entrepreneur

Loads used: 48VDC LED lights, 3W. 48VDC mobile charger

Monitoring: Centralised data logger with remote monitoring. Timing of the system can be controlled remotely and data collected and analysed remotely. Control panel with DC charge regulator and data monitoring

4x 200Ah 12V, series connection, Primetech Charge controller: 48V Phocos CR

PV: 2x 300W, 24V, series connection, EmmVee

SELCO Foundation


Unnamed Road, Karnataka 571444, India

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