The following tool, adapted from a World Bank report on electrification in Africa, shows the services mini-grids of different sizes can provide to customers. Mini-grids in Tier 1 provide the least amount of electricity with the most restrictive hours of use, while Tier 5 mini-grids provide the most electricity during the most hours of the day. Developers can use this framework in discussions with end users to determine which level of service they want and what they’re willing to pay for different levels of service.

Multi-Tier Framework for Measuring Electricity Access, Including Productive Uses
Attributes of Access
Peak available capacity (W)N/A>1 W>20 W>200 W>2000 W>2000 W
Duration of supply (hours)N/A>4 hrs>4 hrs>8 hrs>16 hrs>22 hrs
Evening supply (hours)N/A>2 hrs>2 hrs>2 hrs4 hrs4 hrs
Feasible Applications and Wattage
Radio (1 W) 
Task lighting (1 W) 
Phone charging (1 W) 
General lighting (18 W)  
Air circulation (15 W)  
Television (20 W)  
Computing (70 W)  
Printing (45 W)  
Air cooling (240 W)   
Food processing (200 W)   
Rice cooking (400 W)   
Washing machine (500 W)   
Water pump (500 W)    
Refrigeration (300 W)    
Ironing (1,100 W)    
Microwave (1,100 W)    
Water heating (1,500 W)    
Carpentry tools such as power drill and hand-held planer (1,500 W)    
Air conditioning (1,100 W)     
Space heating (1,500 W)     
Electric cooking (1,100 W)     
Woodshop tools (2,000 W)     
Welding (3,000 W)     
Grain milling (4,000 W)     
Machine shop (5,000 W)     
Possible Electricity Supply Technologies
Dry cell     
Solar lantern    
Rechargeable batteries   
Home system
Source: Tenenbaum, B. et al. (2014). From the Bottom Up : How Small Power Producers and Mini-Grids Can Deliver Electrification and Renewable Energy in Africa. Directions in Development. Washington, DC: World Bank.