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Monica_55905 Nov 09

Tetra Tech Supports Digitization of the Off-Grid Electricity Sector

Tetra Tech Supports Digitization of the Off-Grid Electricity Sector image
"As countries across sub-Saharan Africa seek universal access to electricity, the thirst for off-grid solutions and products is growing apace", a TetraTech article by Pepin Tchouate, Off-Grid Advisor.
In 2019 alone, about 8 million off-grid products, including solar lighting and solar PV home systems, were sold across the continent. Approximately one million were sold using the private sector–driven, pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) model that has revolutionized access to off-grid products for low-income, rural customers. 

Off-grid products use digital technologies to remotely serve millions of African families and businesses, driving down operation costs while keeping customers connected. Besides lighting rural households, these digital technologies provide internet connectivity that brings access to remote education, health, agriculture, transportation, and financial services. They also enable remote monitoring, management, and control of off-grid services and electricity access efforts. Tetra Tech has successfully supported the digitization of off-grid services through the implementation of client projects like Power Africa, Powering Agriculture, Powering Health, and Water and Energy for Food.

Tetra Tech’s team works with private sector and government partners to help countries adopt these fast-evolving technologies in a sustainable way, providing modern services that help rural communities narrow the digital divide. With the adoption of the Digital Financial Services policy in Ghana, Tetra Tech is working with off-grid power companies and rural banks to increase access to electricity and financial services. In Tanzania, we support PAYGO solar companies by advocating that their business activity not be regulated as a microfinance service. In Kenya, we are exploring the impact of a newly adopted tax on digital financial services that could require PAYGO companies to register as financial institutions. 

Thanks to digitalization in East Africa, modern electric boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) played a crucial role in providing transportation and delivery services during COVID-related lockdowns while contributing to improved air quality in the most traffic-congested cities. Tetra Tech is helping electric vehicle (EV) companies raise capital to develop pilots for their startups, as EVs may soon play a role as “mobile batteries” capable of storing electricity for household use. 

At Tetra Tech, we’re proud of our work in Africa and eager to respond to our clients around the world when they ask us to bring our off-grid digital experience to their countries. Our multidisciplinary teams transfer lessons learned across geographies and sectors while adapting to specific realities on the ground. As energy and development experts, we connect the dots between electrification, health care, and transportation and see energy as an enabler across boundaries—empowering people to live longer, more productive lives.