PAST EVENT | 7th Mini Grid Action Learning Event | February 27 - March 3, 2023 | Nairobi, Kenya
Venue: Nairobi, Kenya


For the first time in two years, this event brought together, in–person, nearly 800 key mini grid sector stakeholders, including governments, developers, international and local financial institutions and financiers, productive use equipment suppliers, and associations, with the goal of accelerating the deployment of mini grids to help achieve universal access to electricity.


Over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa alone lack access to electricity. Moreover, 40 percent of the poor live in remote areas that are unlikely to be served by a grid connection in the foreseeable future. In this context, mini grids have a key role to play in extending access to electricity. Achieving the United Nation’s goal of universal access to electricity by 2030 requires mobilizing USD$127 billion to deploy more than 210,000 mini grids to serve half a billion people, according to estimates by ESMAP.


The good news is that the technology is proven and has been demonstrated in thousands of projects across the world. However, a number of factors still hinder the deployment, at scale, of modern mini grids, including lack of clear regulatory and institutional frameworks, shortage of affordable financing, uncertain economic viability, and insufficient focus on demand stimulation.


By attending this event, participants joined the leading public and private sector organizations working together to remove barriers and accelerate the scale-up of mini grids across all energy access deficit countries.


During the first three days of the event, key elements of the agenda included:

Day 1 - Monday, February 27: Host country day: Kenya – reaching universal access to electrification, the role for mini grids and the status and restructuring of the Kenya Off-grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP)

Day 2 - Tuesday, February 28: SSA countries’ day with programs from eight countries including Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, and Niger joined by representatives from the government, regulators, private sector, financiers, and productive use appliance organizations

Day 3 - Wednesday, March 1: Global, best practice day including discussions on findings and remaining questions from Mini Grids for Half a Billion People Handbook


Additionally, we offered two activities on a first-come, first-served basis:

Day 4 - Thursday, March 2: nearly 100 participants were offered the opportunity to participate in a site visit where an actual portfolio of solar mini grids had been implemented and was under operation.  

Day 5 - Friday, March 3: we held a one-day training workshop for 100 participants on the design and implementation of programs to scale up Mini-Grid deployment, with practical case studies applying best practices of the Handbook for Minigrids, with priority given to Teams preparing or implementing mini grid projects (PIUs and others). 


Throughout the week, we covered crucial topics for the advancement of mini grids in Africa, including:

  • Socioeconomic benefits and productive uses of electricity from mini grids

  • The role of tariffs, grants, and concessional financing in kickstarting the deployment of mini grids.

  • How to create an enabling business environment for mini grids – lessons learned from deployment programs in Africa and beyond.

  • Driving down the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of mini grids to $0.20 per kWh.


In addition, a series of “frontier” roundtable discussions took place to break through key challenges. The set of key challenges included:

  • How to inform 290k communities about their mini grid potential with smart technologies?

  • How to streamline approval processes with e-government/e-regulator tools?

  • How to align productive appliance companies with the roll-out of mini grid connections?

  • How to align e-mobility and e-cooking growth with mini grid deployment?

  • Are utilities opening-up to interconnected mini grids as a solution to their end-of-line/remote reliability challenges?

For more information, please contact us:

Learn more about ESMAP's Global Mini Grids Facility