PV mini-grid in Mpanta, Zambia

PV mini-grid in Mpanta, Zambia. Image: Oliver Johnson / SEI

Decentralized, modular, “gridless” options are increasingly seen as valuable complements to grid-based systems for providing basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity. Development has accelerated in recent years thanks to the rapid pace of innovations in electricity, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors.

New technologies and services can be deployed onsite, and they can operate in stand-alone ways. Despite the promise of these innovations, gridless technologies face significant barriers. Hindering further development and expansion are a host of issues – among them, regulatory mismatches, inadequate understanding about end-user expectations, and a lack of both financing solutions and sustainable business models.

The SEI Initiative on Gridless Solutions aims to help address these barriers. The Initiative is exploring cross-sectoral analyses of gridless technologies as a socio-technical phenomenon. It will conduct case studies that analyse on-the-ground deployment experiences.