Mini-Grids Tools & Resources – September 2017

Accelerating Renewable Mini-Grid Deployment: A Study on the Philippines, IRENA

Consultations in the Philippines have called for “establishing an enabling environment for mini-grids” to expand energy access and increase national energy security based on renewable sources and technologies.

This study makes five main recommendations to accelerate the development of renewable mini-grids in the country: 

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities on rural electrification, particularly among the Department of Energy, the National Electrification Administration, and the Small Power Utilities group. Non-governmental organisations and the private sector could also play a greater role. 
  • Ensure comprehensive electrification planning, delineating clear objectives and concrete strategies for areas off the main power grid. The Missionary Electrification Development Plan aims to provide power access to small, remote and isolated areas, using renewable energy technologies to lower generation costs, enhance service reliability, extend service hours and avoid the use of fossil fuels. A medium- to long-term strategy for rural electrification should consider grid extension versus off-grid electrification, and mini-grid versus standalone systems. 
  • Adopt a clear policy approach, adjusting subsidy criteria under the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification to reflect the comparative unviability of some areas, regardless of the type of entity providing service. Incentive policies could include grants to renewable energy developers in off-grid areas, based on capacity. 
  • Streamline regulatory and administrative processes, removing duplications, redundancies and unnecessary requirements, while providing simplified processes for small projects (e.g. below 200 kilowatts). Specific recommendations are provided for Energy Service Contract approval, QTP accreditation and selection, competitive selection process requirement, and tariff determination. 
  • Support project development and execution, ensuring the availability of financing for off-grid electrification with renewables. Collaboration with financial institutions would also be valuable to design innovative renewable energy financing mechanisms.

Double dividend: power and agriculture nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa, ESMAP

Combining agricultural load with other household and commercial power demand can increase the feasibility of extending the grid or creating opportunities for independent power producers and mini-grid operators. Drawing on a suite of case studies, this study offers insights on what it will take to operationalize the opportunities and address the challenges for power-agriculture integration in Africa.

The Fight for Light: Improving Energy Access through Digital Payments, UNCDF

This publication highlights the role of digital payments and inclusive digital ecosystems in achieving sustainable energy for all. It examines three major barriers to expanding energy access and argues how digital payments could help to overcome them. The barriers include a) lack of cost recovery for grid extension and mini-grid projects, b) high up-front cost of energy access and c) lack of private investment as well as well-targeted subsidies for renewable projects.

Business Environment Constraints in Mozambique’s Renewable Energy Sector: Solar PV Systems and Improved Cook Stoves, Business Environment Reform Facility and DfiD

This report was prepared in response to DFID Mozambique’s request for the Business Environment Reform Facility (BERF) to analyze business environment constraints faced by private sector actors wishing to enter the off-grid renewable energy market, specifically for Improved Cook Stoves (ICS), Pico Solar Systems, Solar Home Systems (SHS) and Green Mini-Grids (GMG). The report reviews three issues: i) the policies/strategies, laws and regulations that govern investments in Mozambique’s Photovoltaic (PV) and ICS sectors; ii) the organizations and institutions that operate and affect these sectors and iii) specific business environment issues that affect the performance of these sectors. Interviews were held with a range of stakeholders to identify the binding constraints to sector growth. The report concludes with recommendations on how to overcome such sectoral constraints.