Scaling-up the development of and in investment in mini/micro-grids is necessary to achieve energy access goals. While the engineering principles of mini-grids are well-established, the lack of standards plus uncertainty about quality and safety results in a high-risk perception.
The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) for mini-grids was developed to address the root challenges to providing safe, high-quality, and financially viable mini-grid power systems to remote customers. It is focused on two key frameworks:
- Level of service framework: Defines a range of service levels that ensure safe, quality, and affordable delivery of energy.
- Accountability and performance reporting framework: Provides a clear process of validating power delivery by providing trusted information to customers, funders, and/or regulators.
The QAF provides a flexible alternative to rigid top-down standards for mini-grids in energy access contexts and reflects the range of service levels required to meet the needs of various segments of the off-grid consumer base safely and affordably. In addition, data generated through implementation of the QAF will provide the foundation for comparisons across projects, assessment of impacts, and greater confidence that will drive investment and scale-up in this sector.
Watch a Webinar about the QAF
The QAF was developed in partnerships between the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Power Africa, and the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP).
Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid Program is supporting the development of further QAF products such as an implementation guide along with technical assistance to apply the QAF. Beyond the Grid leverages Power Africa’s innovative transaction-focused model to galvanize collaboration, engage in critical actions to accelerate transactions, and drive systemic reforms to facilitate future investment specifically relating to off-grid and small-scale energy. Beyond the Grid is accelerating off-grid electricity access, focusing on two strategic priorities – household solar and micro-grids – to add 25-30 million new connections by 2030, in support of achieving the overall Power Africa goal of adding 60 million new home and business connections.
Ask an Expert: QA Framework and Implementation
Ian Baring-Gould and other experts can provide no-cost technical assistance to developing country governments to implement the QA framework. To get started with an expert, please complete the request form.