Mini Grid Solutions for Underserved Customers: New Insights from Nigeria and India

Mini-grids, powered by solar and batteries, are emerging as a vital solution for advancing rural electrification, particularly for the millions lacking access to modern energy. Once considered marginal, they are now at the forefront of a distributed energy resources paradigm shift. The World Bank’s Global Facility on Mini Grids has played a pioneering role in nurturing their growth, mobilizing private investment alongside development partners for isolated villages in Africa and Asia. These mini-grids offer two significant benefits: first-time access to reliable electricity and immediate reductions in harmful emissions by displacing polluting generators. However, their success hinges on affordability and commercial sustainability. A new trend, undergrid mini-grids, is emerging in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in areas connected to the main grid but with poor service supply. Firms are deploying undergrid solar hybrid mini-grids to address these challenges, exemplified by projects in India and Nigeria, aiming to enhance affordability and commercial viability through bulk purchases and sales.

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