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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