Top trends for energy access in 2018

Power for All’s Willie Brent attended the recent GOGLA Global Off-Grid Solar Forum, to hear the latest on the distributed solar revolution. Besides a new report that said the sector has already impacted 360 million lives and would reach $8 billion in revenue by 2022, here are some other takeaways.

  1. Discussion has evolved from moving rural energy consumers up the “energy ladder”, to moving them up the “income ladder” (i.e. improving livelihoods though access to solutions that enable income-generating small businesses)
  2. Consumers are at the center of achieving universal energy access (Sustainable Development Goal 7), but much work is still needed to better understand consumer behavior and demand
  3. Disintegration (aka the end of vertical integration)— companies will no longer engage in the entire value chain for delivering energy access, but will focus on specific parts of that chain (finance, distribution, etc)
  4. Appliances, appliances, appliances (see the relaunch of Efficiency for Access Coalition). It’s all about creating super-efficient appliances that allow consumers a much larger range of energy services than just lighting
  5. We’re starting to see some cross-over between standalone solar and mini-grid companies. Mobisol’s newly launched Paygee software platform is one example, as is BBOXX moving into mini-grids
  6. “Pay-as-you-Go” is for everything, not just energy — motorcycle sales, tablets for schools, etc. The paygo companies of today are trying to evolve into diversified providers that sell services on an incremental basis for all type of things
  7. Crowdfunding is increasing in importance as a serious source of capital for the energy access sector. Don’t underestimate the power of the crowd
  8. Profitability, not sales, is the new mantra for companies working to provide energy access
  9. Companies are starting to move toward more local assembly in country, to avoid the distraction of onerous import taxes and duties
  10. The sector has been dominated by international companies. Is there a chance we will see a rise of more indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses servicing the market? We need to

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