Over 1.2bn people on Earth have no access to electricity, most of whom live in rural communities in developing countries. This lack of access is simply because it is uneconomical to connect these distant communities to the national grid. Access to clean energy is a key step in relieving poverty: it means less burning of fuels which are detrimental to health; electric lighting allows for increased hours for educational and economic productivity; new energy markets allow for new jobs within the communities, and locally produced energy minimises threats from external energy markets.
Clean electricity can be provided either as single-unit systems (for example, solar powered street lights) or, less commonly, in the form of a microgrid. A microgrid is a series of electrical loads (appliances in houses) supplied by several energy resources (wind, solar, hydro) via a central controller, often balanced by a battery bank. This project will study factors which ultimately lead to success or failure of already deployed microgrids in developing communities.