More than one billion people lack access to modern electricity services, with 80 percent living in rural areas. Extending national grids to remote locations can be costly, and communities in many rural areas have to wait for years to get connected. Mini-grids, however, can bring the socio-economic benefits of electrification to those without access in a cost-effective manner.
Mini-grids have opened the way for private sector and community investments to rapidly close the access gap. The International Energy Agency estimates that to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, 40 percent of all installed capacity will have to come from mini-grids. This toolkit explores several topics relevant to implementing mini-grids for energy access.
The toolkit is organized into modules, each of which presents recent learning and experience on a critical area relating to mini-grids. These modules include national policies and planning, emerging technologies, technical design, economics, financing, ownership, regulation, environmental impacts and community considerations. In this toolkit, mini-grids are defined as isolated systems that may range in size from 1 or 2 kW up to 10 MW and provide power to local consumers through a local distribution network. Mini-grids may be eventually connected to a central grid or remain as isolated systems
The modules adopt a question and answer format. Suggestions for further reading are provided at the end of each module for users who wish to delve deeper into specific issues. Case studies that highlight useful lessons relevant to the issues discussed in the modules are also provided.
The content of the Mini-Grids Support Toolkit was developed by Winrock International and the World Resources Institute (WRI) under Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program (EEREP), Increasing Adoption of Renewable Energy Leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement No. AID–OAA–L-11-00002 funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). RTI International updated and adapted the toolkit for the web under the four-year Energy Sector Technical Leadership (ESTL) Task Order (AID-OAA-TO-13-00048) funded by USAID.