International Energy Studies Group
Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division

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Off Grid and Mini Grid Solutions for Improving Electricity Access

off grid

off grid equipment

More than 1.2 billion people in the world, largely in developing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to electricity. Moreover, the majority of this population that lacks access to electricity service lives in rural areas. Renewable energy-based off grid and mini-grids (RE mini-grids) solutions offer a significant opportunity to increase access to reliable electricity services. We focus on several technical and policy aspects of mini-grid and off grid solutions.

Recent Work

Renewable Energy Mini-grids for Improved Energy Access

We are collaborating with the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University (HSU), the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), and Prayas Energy Group (PEG) on the Renewable Energy Mini-grids for Improved Energy Access project. These efforts are in support of multilateral off-grid initiatives. The focus of the project includes:

  • Facilitate the development of a policy framework for affordable and sustainable energy access through RE mini-grids
  • Provide guidance on the technical, safety and policy issues associated with interconnecting RE mini-grids with the central grid, and
  • Promote demand-side management through smart grid load management technologies and super-efficient appliances in mini-grids.

Policy Framework of Mini-Grids

Policy CategoriesDeshmukh et al (2013). Sustainable Development of Renewable Energy Mini-grids for Energy Access: A Framework for Policy Design. LBNL 7912E

Super-Efficient Off Grid Products for Expanded Energy Access

In collaboration with HSU and CLASP, we are providing technical support to an Off-Grid Product Awards program to catalyze markets for super-efficient off-grid energy products and services. This is in support of multilateral off-grid initiatives.

SHS: Solar Home System
When super-efficient appliances are used in off-grid solar power systems, the total cost of providing off-grid electricity services can be reduced by as much as 50%.

Phadke et al (2015). Powering a Home with Just 25Watts of Solar PV: Super-Efficient Appliances Can Enable Expanded
Off-Grid Energy Service Using Small Solar Power Systems. LBNL-175726

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