PublicationJournal Article Productive uses of electricity at the energy-​​health nexus: Financial, technical and social insights from a containerized power system in Rwanda

January 10, 2023
Publication Type:
Journal Article

 We present a case study of suc­cess­ful uptake of a pro­duc­tive use of elec­tric­ity (PUE) co-​​located at an off-​​grid clinic pow­ered by Off­Grid­Box in Rwanda. We develop a techno-​​economic analy­sis of the stan­dard­ized, mod­u­lar, and rede­ploy­able power sup­ply tech­nol­ogy, char­ac­ter­iz­ing cost com­po­nents, rev­enue con­sid­er­a­tions, and key chal­lenges. We present a tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of sys­tem uti­liza­tion based on remote mon­i­tor­ing of elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion, power reli­a­bil­ity, and power qual­ity at a PUE inter­ven­tion site, esti­mat­ing sys­tem reli­a­bil­ity at 81% over the study period. Lastly, we char­ac­ter­ize socio-​​economic costs and ben­e­fits from the pro­duc­tive user’s per­spec­tive draw­ing on mixed-​​method inter­views. We find that rel­a­tively low amounts of elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion (10–30 kWh per month) com­mand a high revealed will­ing­ness to pay (~$3 per kWh) for the solar-​​powered dis­place­ment of diesel-​​based weld­ing, sig­nif­i­cantly improv­ing the unit eco­nom­ics of the deployed sys­tem. This analy­sis and data pro­vides a resource model for the stan­dard­iza­tion of mini-​​grid hard­ware, per­for­mance and cost frame­works, and met­rics to assess off-​​grid, under-​​grid and ulti­mately grid inter­ac­tive dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion sys­tems. These mod­els are urgently needed to meet the UN Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goal SDG 7 com­mit­ment to achieve uni­ver­sal energy access by 2030. 

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