MIT Energy Initiative

Rural electrification

At MIT’s Tata Center for Technology and Design, researchers are exploring ways to extend electricity access to rural communities in India using microgrids

Credit: Tata Center

To address the microgrid challenge at the macro level, Tata researchers led by Robert Stoner and Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga, a visiting professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from IIT-Comillas University in Madrid, Spain, have been developing and implementing a sophisticated computer program that can help government planners determine the best way to provide electricity to all potential consumers.

The Reference Electrification Model (REM) pulls information from a range of data sets—which in India include satellite imagery, the Census of India, and India’s National Sample Survey, which gathers statistics for planning purposes. REM then uses the data to determine where extending the grid will be most cost-effective and where other solutions, such as a microgrid or even an isolated home solar system, would be more practical.

Research Team