This study identifies and assesses the perspectives of four key stakeholder groups towards solar minigrids in rural India. The stakeholders considered are policymakers, minigrid developers and operators, development organizations, and national grid representatives. Recent state and national policies in India have increased the focus on minigrids and their services. In this study, stakeholder interviews were employed to identify the attitudes towards the recent electricity policy, the underlying context for minigrid development, the role of minigrids in rural electrification, and the inclusion of minigrid systems within the larger framework of electricity sector policies by the recent government minigrid policies. Results indicate that stakeholders agree that minigrids, as a rural electricity service, are currently viable to complement the national grid due to their high reliability, performance in remote regions, and diminishing cost per unit. However, stakeholders disagree on the future outcomes, with diverging views on the priority of minigrids as an electrification tool in the face of the expanding central grid, the ideal implementation strategy for minigrids, and the potential for grid-minigrid interaction. Based on stakeholder feedback, the growth of minigrids in India is likely to be constrained by the confidence in recent policies, necessitating more frequent dialogue among decision makers and a solidified relationship to the national electricity grid.
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Natural Resources Forum