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Around 25,000 villages are located in remote and inaccessible areas and hence could not be electrified through conventional grid extension in India. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing the ‘Remote Village Electrification Programme’ (RVEP) to electrify such remote villages by installing solar photovoltaic (PV) home lighting systems in all the states. An evaluation study was carried out by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in six states, viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. The functionality of the system varies across the states and across the seasons. During rainy season on an average one luminaire works 2 to 3 hours. During winter and summer on an average one luminaire works 4 to 5 hours. However, performance declines over the years. Use of kerosene is reducing in rural areas. Nearly 53 to 69 per cent reported that there is significant improvement in their children’s education, and 37 to 78 per cent reported that there is improvement in the standard of living after the installation of solar lighting. Beneficiaries now spend more time on income generating activities. Crime rate has also declined due to availability of solar street lights in the village.

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