Mini-Grid Innovation Lab:
innovating to provide more power,
to more people,
at less cost

OUR RESEARCH

Once an innovation is identified for testing, the Lab defines the hypotheses to be tested and metrics to be tracked in a detailed study design. We publish an Innovation Insight sharing the first meaningful results and then a final report at the study’s end evaluating the impact on the business model.

Appliance Financing
APPLIANCE FINANCING

Offers customers appliances on set financing terms to test the impact on a mini-grid’s load, customer consumption, and developers’ revenues.

APPLIANCE FINANCING 1.0

Tests household appliances, such as TVs, fridges, and speakers.
Study Design
August 2019 Innovation Insight | NextBillion Article


APPLIANCE FINANCING 2.0

Tests productive use appliances, such as grain mills and welders, and introduces Angaza as a payment platform to simplify developers’ tracking of loan repayments.
Study Design | April 2020 Blog Post


APPLIANCE FINANCING 3.0

Introduces Asaga Technologies to supply energy-efficient productive use appliances customized to the African mini-grid market.
Study Design


bulk
BULK PROCUREMENT

Aggregates developers’ orders for various mini-grid components to negotiate the best deal and procure components in bulk, to test the impact on developers’ capital expenditure.

Study Design

Grid competition
GRID COMPETITION

Subsidizes a mini-grid’s tariffs to compete with main grid tariffs on sites where the main grid has encroached, to test the impact on customers’ choice in power.

Study Design

Grid Densification
GRID DENSIFICATION

Tests the impact on developers’ capex of proactively building distribution infrastructure and installing connections ahead of receiving customer connection fees.

Study Design

Wi-fi
INTERNET

Offers customers internet connections to test the impact on customer consumption and developers’ revenues.

 

INTERNET 1.0

Tests Wi-Fi-based internet connections served by satellite.
Study Design

 

INTERNET 2.0

Tests fiber-based internet connections served by the local telecom network.
Study Design

Metering
METERING

Tests the hardware and software performance of several smart meters to help developers choose the optimal meter for a given site.

Study Design

modular grid
MODULAR GRIDS: INCREASING CAPACITY MODULARLY

Tests smart inverters and new battery technologies that allow developers to flexibly and efficiently change a mini-grid’s generation and storage capacity to match demand, thereby optimizing capital expenditure.

Study Design

predicting consumption
PREDICTING CONSUMPTION

Models the predictive power of the Lab’s data in estimating consumption at a mini-grid site, to determine the site and customer characteristics most predictive of a new site’s consumption.

December 2019 Innovation Insight | NextBillion Article

Tariff Reduction
TARIFF REDUCTION

Subsidizes a mini-grid’s tariffs to test the impact on customer consumption and developers’ revenues.
Study Design

May 2019 Innovation Insight | NextBillion Article