Brackish water desalination is crucial to meet basic drinking water needs in rural India. Solar photovoltaic powered electrodialysis (PV-ED) has been justified as a more cost-effective solution than the current dominant reverse osmosis approach for off-grid systems. This paper presents preliminary results from an ongoing field pilot of a village-scale PV-ED system in Chelluru, which is a small village in South India. System performance is compared to predictions of a PV-ED parametric model of local solar irradiance, ED system parameters, power systems parameters, water storage, and cost, validating the model over a single-batch ED operation. An ∼88% “solar-to-treated water” conversion efficiency was achieved in a typical ED batch operation, using 2.47±0.27 kWh/m3 for brackish desalination in the village. This paper also discusses the difficulties and local constraints encountered during the initial field testing and analyzes system performance in the context of local constraints and availability.

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