Solar-home systems and traditional minigrids are seen as the key solutions for rural energy access where the national grid cannot reach – but there remains an access gap between these solutions. Solar-home systems cannot power rural industrialisation and traditional minigrids are expensive and often not viable in the hardest to reach locations. In the attempt to achieve SDG 7 – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – there are consumer segments at risk of being further left behind.
Scene, a UK based Social Enterprise, has designed a new type of grid – an Evolving Grid – for energy companies like minigrid developers and solar-home system providers to address this access gap. From the bottom-up, Evolving Grids interconnect distributed renewable energy assets to form community networks of producers and consumers. Internet of Things (IoT) and automation technologies facilitate energy and financial transactions between buildings, new connections and loads can be added when needed, and grids can grow organically in step with wider community development.