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From Gap to Opportunity: The A-B-C Telecom Mini-grid Model for East Africa
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology. Ecole de Mines de Nantes (EMN) & Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM).
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Modern energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the primary challenges

that humanity faces today. Rural electrification in this region is a complex

issue that needs to be well understood by developed and developing

countries in order to thrive on this situation. Further, due to the significant

amount of installed capacity that this market will represent in the coming

decades, the impact of this market in climate change could be irreversible.

There is, therefore, a need of well addressing this market in order to mitigate

and minimize its impact in climate change.

This work first presents and studies the rural electrification market in sub-

Saharan Africa and second, focuses in Mini-grids, one of the most successful

alternatives to grid extension in the last decade. By analyzing the different

aspects that a Mini-grid involves and reviewing several case studies

worldwide, this thesis tries to identify what are the challenges and

opportunities that Mini-grids face to become successful in sub-Saharan Africa,

particularly in East Africa where the author has carried a 6-month internship

hosted by the company African Solar Designs Ltd (Nairobi, Kenya). Innovative

Business models, Policy and Inclusive Business are identified as key aspects

of Mini-grids as failures in the experiences in sub-Saharan Africa.

The A-B-C Telecom Mini-grid approach (A: Anchor, B: Business; C:

Community) is presented here as a commercially viable solution for Mini-grids

in rural areas of East Africa, where there is a need of access to modern

energy as well as many off-grid Base Telecom Stations that need more

affordable electricity. The A-B-C Telecom Mini-grid model is first defined,

secondly the technology is simulated and optimized using Homer software; a

PV-diesel hybrid Mini-grid is selected the best option for this market. Then the

business model for the A-B-C concept is defined and is financially simulated

under certain parameters shown. A financial sensitivity analysis is also

implemented to understand how viable is the model presented and how

sensible to certain financial parameters is.

To finish with, this project identifies the model limitations and the major

barriers that this model face to succeed; favorable regulatory environment,

finance to scale up the concept and donor agencies and rural energy

practitioners to understand and switch their approach of rural electrification

projects into a more sustainable and commercially viable one.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 56 p.
Keyword [en]
Mini-grid, Solar Energy, Hybrid Systems, Access to Modern Energy, Sustainability, Rural Development, Sustainability
National Category
Energy Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-131697OAI: diva2:656764
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master of Science - Management and Engineering of Environment and Energy
2013-09-18, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Madrid, 11:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-10-17 Last updated: 2013-12-20Bibliographically approved

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