PV microgrid business models for energy-delivery services in camps for displaced peoples

Keywords: Off-grid solar PV power, Humanitarian technology, Microgrids, Energy-delivery models


Energy services are essential for the protection of basic human rights and dignity. Since 2014, energy issues have been incorporated in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees global protection strategies. Off-grid solar photovoltaics power solutions can now provide cost-effective clean electricity in camps comprised large populations of displaced peoples, internally displaced and/or refugees. Through microgrid modelling and risk analysis, we outline business models that could provide affordable and appropriate energy to displaced communities. Our proposed PV microgrid build-own-operate business models for camps of displaced populations consider providing household demands, institutional demands, and a combination of the two. We find that sustainable energy services can be provided to humanitarian agencies to power their compounds and community services such as health clinics and administrative centres. A fixed tariff of US$ 1 /kWh is viable provided: the local fuel prices are greater than US$ 0.6 /L at the point of use, and the capital costs of a backup or existing diesel generator are already covered. A fixed price tariff, mitigates running costs for humanitarian agencies. In addition, by leveraging the institutional energy demands, basic electricity services to up to 500 households for mobile phone charging and lighting could be provided for a monthly tariff of US$ 1.5 per household, which is favourable compared to the estimated of US$ 4 monthly cost of kerosene for a typical refugee household. The solutions we propose will reduce costs and improve the sustainability of humanitarian operations while achieving the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees goals by providing electricity to displaced persons for lighting and communications.


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