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De-risking investments in mini-grids by enabling stepwise growth

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Published on: Oct 01, 2018

How to de-risk a mini-grid

Where traditional mini-grid projects need a long and costly evaluation and engineering phase, Power-Blox can be installed almost instantly. Real time consumption data help to verify the business model and to analyse the energy needs. Start with just a few cubes to get meaningful insights during the pilot-phase and scale up to a theoretically unlimited size with growing energy demand. Thus you do not only minimize and mitigate your investment risk but at the same time secure your initial investment as Power-Bloxs‘ scalability ensures the continued use of the existing devices, that can be supplemented with additional devices over time. In conventional systems some of the components have to be replaced when the grid grows.

Before installing the mini-grid, a cost-intensive analysis and engineering phase is necessary. Based on field studies, the tariff model, the grid design and the capacity are planned. The challenge and the greatest risk lies in forecasting the development of demand over time. The expected demand ultimately determines the installed generation capacity, which in turn represents the largest cost block of capital. 

The risk of underutilisation especially in the first years of operation remains one of the greatest cost-risks associated with mini-grids.

The graph below illustrates the typical investment pattern of a traditional mini-grid project. Especially in the first years of operation there is an underutilisation of capacity as scaling up capacity in a mini-grid is quite complex and costly.

Mini grid pattern

Power-Blox project

While the mini-grid is still in the analysis and engineering phase, an electrification with Power-Blox can start almost instantly. In the pilot phase of the project, with a few PBX installed, real-time consumption data are gathered via cloud-based monitoring. Based on the data the tariff model can be refined and future capacity can be planned.

 

As our unique swarm technology allows for a stepwise growth pattern new Power-Blox can be added to the existing ones after the pilot phase by just plugging them in. It's a matter of minutes!

The mobile Power-Blox technology allows for risk diversification over a project portfolio by utilising capacity there where it's needed.

As the Power-Blox technology is mobile, Power-Blox can be removed when demand is low. Thus, generation capacity can be transferred between villages without incurring costs for underutilisation. These unique features allow risk diversification over a project portfolio. 

Mini grid pattern 2

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