Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
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.
2013. , 56 p.
Mini-grid, Solar Energy, Hybrid Systems, Access to Modern Energy, Sustainability, Rural Development, Sustainability
Master of Science - Management and Engineering of Environment and Energy
2013-09-18, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Madrid, 11:00 (English)