In July India suffered the largest blackout in history, affecting roughly 10 percent of the world’s population. India’s growing urban middle-class has increased the demand on India’s power grid in recent years with a thirst for modern conveniences like air-conditioning and electric subway trains. But when a drought hit India this year during monsoon season, something had to give. The lack of rain meant a reduction in power from India’s hydroelectric dams, and a shortage of coal meant the northern half of India found itself with not enough electricity supply to meet demand. Scientific American notes:
Oddly enough, some of the formerly energy poor—rural villagers throughout the subcontinent—found themselves better off than their middle-class compatriots during the recent blackouts, thanks to village homes outfitted with photovoltaic panels. In fact, solar power helped keep some electric pumps supplying water for fields parched by an erratic monsoon this year.
Solar kept the villagers and farms running independently, while 10 percent of the world’s population endured a lengthy blackout.
India has plenty of political issues that contributed to the blackout as well, but events like this are a good reminder of the reliability and efficiency of solar. After the blackout of 2012, it’s likely many of India’s middle-class will be looking into solar power as well.