Productive Use of Energy in African Micro-Grids: Technical and Business Considerations
Demand for electricity from small industry and businesses, which is defined as the productive use of energy, 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 is part of a series of reports being developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Energy 4 Impact in support of the Power Africa Beyond the Grid Program and is a companion document to the Quality Assurance Framework for Mini-Grids. This report is a resource entrepreneurs and developers can use to understand the technical and business model challenges related to productive use of energy in smaller micro-grids. This report examines best practices for promoting productive use of energy 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.