Around a third of the rural population in India are un-electrified or have unreliable access to power. The power sector in India is currently heavily dependent on non-renewable sources of energy such as coal. However, as this practice is unsustainable, India is seeking to move on the development path of employing more renewable energy sources in power generation. India understands the global efforts needed to combat the negative effects of climate change, greenhouse gases, and exhaustible fossil fuels and aims to encourage the use of clean energy in India through subsidies, targeted policy changes, incentives and initiatives. The paper highlights the efforts of the Indian government, in spheres of program initiation, financial incentives and subsidies, R&D and training. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has been explained in great detail in this paper. All the case studies, presented in this paper, have been implemented with government incentives and also with the involvement of the private sector. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have been successfully used for rural electrification programmes, all around the world. The paper presents information on minigrids, microgrids, hybrid power systems and solar home lighting systems. In India, with its great solar potential and Governmental support and initiatives in rural electrification programmes through renewable sources of energy, solar energy has been gaining momentum. With the downward trend in PV cost, developments of efficient appliances, and encouragement of cost-effective strategies, PV systems have become economically attractive to the rural districts. However, there are still some villages, that have no access to power, that continue to use kerosene for lighting. The trend of kerosene use in rural India has been illustrated through case studies. These systems have also imparted many positive impacts in the lives of the rural community. In spite of all the positives, there are still some challenges that limit these systems from reaching their full potential. The paper enumerates recommendations on how to overcome these hurdles and takes a look at the future direction that solar energy can take in Indian rural electrification programmes.