Introduction to Mini-grid business
This section explains what mini-grids are, who develops them and which end users they serve.
A mini-grid is a set of small-scale electricity generators and possibly energy storage systems interconnected to a distribution network that supplies electricity to a small, localised group of customers and operates independently from the national transmission grid. They range in a size from a few kilowatts up to 10 megawatts. Smaller mini-grids are sometimes referred as "micro-grids" or "nano-grids".
Mini-grids can serve a wide range of customers. These include private households, commercial businesses such as shops, ice makers and mobile phone chargers, agricultural loads such as irrigation pumping and cold storage, productive loads such as grind mills and wood or metal working shops, and semi-industrials such as telecom towers, processing plants or flower farms.
Mini-grids can be developed or operated by state utilities, private companies, communities, non-governmental organisations, or a mix of different players such as public-private partnerships. The generation and distribution assets may be developed and managed by different players, both public and private. The mini-grids can run on diesel, renewables (solar PV, hydro, wind, biomass etc) or as renewable-diesel hybrids. Green mini-grids are those that generate a significant portion of their power from renewables.
The Green Mini-grid Help Desk has been designed as an information portal for all mini-grid stakeholders. Policymakers and regulators operating in Sub Saharan African countries that would like to get more bespoke support on policy and regulations for mini-grids may contact the Help Desk directly or through their appointed advisors, using the link 'Contact us'.