The world is steadily progressing towards universal access to electricity, with access rates in rural areas growing rapidly. Current technologies and the solutions can dramatically accelerate the growth trajectory of electricity access.
This brief by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) takes stock of the opportunity at hand – detailing the dynamism and the innovations in the off-grid renewable energy sector. Building on IRENA’s growing body of work on the topic, it highlights the latest trends and advances, including innovations in delivery and financing models. It also discusses the policy and regulatory measures governments are taking to harness the potential of off-grid renewables to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, including the goal on energy, SDG7.
Off-grid renewable energy solutions, including stand-alone systems and mini-grids, have emerged as a mainstream, cost-competitive option to expand access to electricity. They represent a viable electrification solution that is rapidly scalable, environmentally sustainable, can be tailored to local conditions and, importantly, has the potential to empower rural communities.