While decentralised renewable energy (DRE) has had a long history in India, there is now renewed interest in remote rural electrification through DRE micro-grids, given the political commitment to provide electricity to all, the continuing electricity shortages, the fall in DRE equipment prices, especially solar PV, and the growing threat of climate change. There is a significant amount of existing literature which captures the technical, social, economic, institutional, and policy aspects of DRE micro-grids in India. This literature review attempts to present the distilled knowledge from these studies to a broader audience.

In a nut shell, while it is clear that DRE micro-grids have significant potential in remote areas, can increase socio-economic development and help in poverty alleviation, the high incidence of project and system failures suggests that there are several unresolved technical, socio-economic and institutional factors that fundamentally impact its long-term sustainability.