All Thayer Events

Productive Uses of Decentralized Renewable Energy



12:00pm - 1:00pm ET


A presentation on recent research as part of the New Energy: Conversations with Early-Career Energy Researchers series.

For over a billion households today, electricity is still unavailable, unreliable, or unaffordable. Historically, the use of stand-alone decentralized renewable energy (DRE) for rural electrification primarily focused on powering lights and mobile chargers. In the past decade, the electrification agenda has shifted to a demand-centric approach, focusing on understanding how rural livelihoods, healthcare, and education can be powered by DRE, enabled by a supporting ecosystem.

In this talk, Vivek Shastry will present findings from an in-depth field study of rural entrepreneurs in southern India who are using solar powered appliances for a range of rural livelihoods and businesses. Specifically, he explores the market and non-market factors that influence entrepreneurs’ access to these solutions, and the mechanisms through which they contribute to building their resilience to future livelihood and climate shocks.

Mark Laser, Associate Professor of Engineering, will moderate a Q&A after the presentation.

About the Speaker(s)

Vivek Shastry
PhD student, U Texas-Austin

Vivek Shastry is passionate about facilitating inclusive development through sustainable energy solutions. As a doctoral candidate in Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, his current work explores the intersection of energy access, primary health care, rural livelihoods, and gender. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he earned master's degrees in sustainable design, and community and regional planning from the University of Texas at Austin and worked with the policy and planning group at SELCO Foundation. He has traveled extensively in rural India and worked on decentralized renewable energy projects from implementation, research, and policy perspectives.


For more information, contact Irving Institute at