Publication - Productive Use of Energy in African Micro-Grids: Technical & Business Considerations

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Productive Use of Energy in African Micro-Grids: Technical & Business Considerations
Samuel Booth, Xiangkun Li, Ian Baring-Gould, Diana Kollanyi, Abishek Bharadwaj and Peter Weston
Published in
August 2018
Demand for electricity from small industry and businesses, which is defined as the productive use of energy (PUE), is a key success factor for micro-grids. Because of the typically low energy usage of residential customers, without linkage to and support for these energy users, micro-grids are likely to struggle to reach the critical revenue needed for financial viability. Productive users are also important to enhancing the economic and social development impacts of micro-grids and rural electrification programs more broadly. This report examines best practices for promoting PUE and the business models used by developers. It starts with background information and a literature review followed by a discussion of key enterprise considerations for productive use (PU) including: value chain and business case analysis, enterprise development and training, appliance financing, and developers running PU businesses. Unlike many other reports on PUE, this report is based on application specific data, in this case data gathered by E4I working with a range of micro-grid developers and PUs in East Africa. The report is also unique in that it provides actual customer demographics and load profiles from PUs on micro-grids operated by PowerGen Renewable Energy in Tanzania, analyzed for a related Power Africa project