Skip to main content

Connect the unconnected: smart nanogrid management for peer-to-peer energy sharing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SNM4P2PE (Connect the unconnected: smart nanogrid management for peer-to-peer energy sharing)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-04-30

600m people in Africa lack access to electricity. On current targets, centralized grid extension will not achieve universal electrification until 2080, well behind the SDG 7 target of 2030. With falling solar prices there is an opportunity for a significant proportion of this need to be met by small DC nanogrids (typically 1kW system size), which are more flexible than and faster to install than grid extension but can provide enough power to meet end-user demands.

The challenge is to find a way of managing this in a cost-effectively, ensuring that hardware can be remotely monitored, that pricing is viable, and costs are sustainable. This doesn’t currently exist, so new technologies are required. We propose a remote-controlled, secure, and affordable IoT platform to monitor, control and manage the DC nanogrid (ie in the form of an off-grid smart meter).
The challenge of the feasibility study was to determine if the product, as proposed, was viable, work performed is detailed below:
- Technical viability analysis looking at the feature set required by customers and comparing this with current technology. We then investigated whether this could be built affordably.
- Market analysis, looking at the problem, the market, and any barriers to entry.
- Business model analysis, reviewing the revenue model, sales strategies, and resources needed
- Financial viability was assessed, looking at forecasted growth, IRR, and NPV.

There was one minor change in the concept of the project which was to move away from peer-to-peer sharing of power to a simpler model where the utility provider owns a centralised system and sells units of energy to multiple off-takers. Beyond this, we found no material issues that would alter our assumption that this project is viable. We intend to pursue the project further.
Even a basic level of affordable energy will provide enormous economic, social, health, and environmental benefits to rural communities in Africa, including, but not limited to:

1. Improved supply of electricity to unconnected, rural communities
2. Reduction of dangerous emissions
3. Reduction in the end user’s cost of energy
4. New job creation
5. Improved end-user creditworthiness
6. Improved gender equality

The proposed product addresses the needs of a large, underserved market, in an affordable manner. Pursuing this project we will have a beneficial impact on the lives of millions of Africans living in energy poverty.
Product picture (1)
SteamaCo end user
Product picture (2)
Company logo