Going off grid: Tata researchers tackle rural electrification
Kei Kreutler

More than 300 million people in India have no access to grid electricity, and the problem is especially acute in rural communities, which can be difficult and expensive to reach with grid power.

"Satellite imagery is used to map the buildings in a given location, and demand is estimated based on the types and profiles of the buildings. REM then uses pricing and technical data on such equipment as solar panels, batteries, and wiring to estimate the costs of electrification on or off the grid and to make preliminary engineering designs for the recommended systems. The model essentially produces a snapshot of a lowest-cost electrification plan as if one could be built up overnight."