SUMMARY: MinVayu will meet the need for power in Indian villages. MinVayu consists of affordable, small, wind turbines designed for low-wind, and training for village mechanics to install and maintain them. This allows wind-powered electricity to be scaled to India’s 98 million rural dwellers with wind, but without reliable electricity.
PROBLEM SPACE: In India about 98 million live in windy villages without reliable power. Small wind systems are typically too expensive for rural India. With high prices, high import duties, and a requirement for skilled personnel to install them, they are typically only used for high-value situations such as cell phone towers.
SOLUTION: Jorge was inspired by his work with a US wind turbine developer developing their Latin American training network and with the world’s largest rural electrification project in China to ask why small wind wasn’t being used in India.
His analysis of the cost factors led to this program.
Village mechanics will be trained to identify suitable sites, build towers, and assemble turbines, and install and maintain them. MinVayu will provide the marketing and other support that helps these village entrepreneurs build a business.
MinVayu will initially use an existing open-source wind turbine that can be locally manufactured. After about a year it will replace this with a design optimised for small scale; low average winds and reduced balance of system costs. While still being manufactured regionally.
Some of the village mechanics will be trained as trainers, allowing the project to scale. MinVayu’s goal is to make wind power affordable across all of India within five years. The program has potential to be replicated internationally.
As of October 2011:
- 7 village mechanics & 3 recent college graduates have been trained to install and maintain turbines.
- 3 of these are progressing towards being trainers and are also learning how to manufacture the Scorag design
- A carpenter has trained to make the blades, and improved the process sufficiently halving labor estimates.
- One turbine has been successful in field trials since April 2011.
- Three more are almost ready for installation.
- Feedback from pilot courses has been incorporated into the course and turbine design.
- Costs have been subsidized by 19 overseas trainees (Africa, Europe, Asia) and by the local NGO that bought the first turbine being trialed.
- A business plan has been developed and MinVayu is actively seeking investment.