Mini-grid companies often struggle to find economically viable business models due to a lack of larger dependable customers. Including productive use demand can significantly improve the economics, because productive users tend to use a lot more electricity than households, and mainly use ‘cheaper’ electricity because they operate during the day, providing additional demand at low peak.
We advise mini-grid developers in a way that adds value to their businesses by building the capacity of the businesses they serve. As well as supporting the mini-grid companies in defining their productive use of energy strategies, we train and mentor micro-enterprises to use the energy for commercial purposes and help them access capital to buy equipment.
JUMEME Rural Power Supply set up a solar-powered mini-grid on the Lake Victoria island of Ukara, with the capacity to provide reliable and affordable electricity to nearly 2,000 households and over 200 businesses. Energy 4 Impact has been advising local entrepreneurs, helping them to make informed decisions on how to use the electricity to increase productivity and profitability.
One of these entrepreneurs is Samweli Nyakalege, who uses the mini-grid power for rice and maize milling. He can now serve more customers more quickly and efficiently and, thanks to the increased volume of sales, he is able to employ more staff. He now plans to raise more funding to further expand his business.