A Husk Power Systems biomass micro-grid. The company is now focused on solar-biomass hybrid systems. (credit: Acumen)

A Husk Power Systems biomass micro-grid. The company is now focused on solar-biomass hybrid systems. (credit: Acumen)

Husk Power Systems, an early pioneer in developing micro-grids for poor, rural communities in India and sub-Saharan Africa, plans a 7-fold increase in its power plants to 600 within 5 years, expanding into a fully-fledged rural utility that delivers reliable 24/7 grid-compatible power and better customer service than incumbent utilities.

Husk has already developed and deployed hybrid micro-grid systems that combine and synchronize biomass gasification and solar PV, which CEO Manoj Sinha says are the most affordable micro-grid systems operating in the world today.

“We realized around 2013 that customer aspirations were for more than 5 to 7 hours of nighttime power, which is what our biomass-only system offered. They wanted to be able to switch on any appliance at any time,” Sinha told Power for All. “That’s when we decided to only do 24/7 on-demand power at an affordable price point for customers”.

Husk’s hybrid system, which takes just about a week to install, has allowed the company to significantly reduce its CapEx, and made the need for batteries, which are a major system cost, minimal. And while it is focused on biomass over the coming years, Husk is open to integrating more storage with solar if the economics improve.