Mini-grid training needs assessment

Nov 16, 2018

Source/author : Inensus

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Executive Summary

The market for private investment in green mini-grids in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is still relatively immature, and this is reflected in the lack of skills and experience of developers and other key industry stakeholders. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of mini-grid specific training courses and dedicated local training centres. Training, together with bespoke technical assistance, is therefore critical if minigrids are to be scaled up.

This report was commissioned by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Green Mini-grid Market Development Programme and looks specifically at the training needs of mini-grid developers. It identifies the knowledge and skills requirements of developers and evaluates whether their requirements are being addressed by existing and planned training programmes. It makes recommendations on what future training programmes should focus on and identifies potential training organisations that can help fill the gaps.

A. Scope of report

The report analyses all aspects of the training programmes, including types of training, course content, training delivery methods, certification, and the track record and suitability of different training organisations. The report is based on:

 Interviews with 11 developers 1 and the Africa Mini-grid Developers Association (AMDA);
 Interviews with 20 training providers and desktop research on 33 other providers;
 Desktop research on 47 training programmes; and
 On-the-ground experience of Energy 4 Impact and Inensus (together the “Help Desk”) providing technical assistance to over 100 developers in SSA.

B. Requirements of developers

Many mini-grid operators lack the skills, knowledge and experience to develop and run mini-grids properly. A comprehensive mini-grid training curriculum should aim to cover the whole project life cycle from project development and construction through to operation:

 Project development – site selection, demand assessment, technical system design and system sizing, distribution network mapping, business models, financial modelling, feasibility studies, capital raising, and project management.
 Project construction – contracting, procurement, installation, commissioning, capital raising and financing, and project management.
 Project operation and maintenance (O&M) – O&M process management and software, marketing and sales, tariff setting, customer service, metering, demand side management, demand stimulation including micro-enterprise development, performance monitoring and evaluation, and enterprise management

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