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Solar milling: exploring market requirements to close the commercial viability gap

28/01/2020

Solar-powered mills offer a reliable and sustainable alternative to diesel mills. In 2019, Efficiency for Access and Energy 4 Impact collaborated on a pilot test and study of Agsol solar milling equipment in East Africa. Through the pilot, they assessed the product’s market viability, including its ability to meet consumer demand, generate a profit, and compete with incumbent milling technology.

Results indicate that, while solar mills have market potential, they are not yet commercially viable because they can­not fully compete with their diesel counterparts. The report outlines several actions that manufacturers, suppliers, donor, investors and policymakers can take to close the commercial viability gap for solar mills.

Key recommendations include:

  • Increase funding for prototype field testing to find the right balance in mill cost, throughput, and efficiency for operators and consumers.
  • Improve consumer financing mechanisms and incentives that improve affordability by reducing capital cost.
  • Conduct market research to discover and reach untapped markets.
  • Integrate the provision of agricultural equipment into national policies and clarify taxes and duty exemptions for solar mills.

 Download the report here.