Productive uses of energy refer to the utilisation of electricity for income and employment generating activities. Productive use (PU) activities can be a catalyst to rural de- velopment and sustainable economic growth, providing opportunities for job creation, skill development, increased income, market access and reduced vulnerability. PUs can also accelerate the success of green mini-grid (GMG) projects, by increasing demand for energy and increasing household income, thereby enabling people to purchase more energy and ‘climb the energy ladder’.
This guide is designed to provide support to practitioners to make effective decisions and aid in implementation of PUs. In order to catalyze economic development in a community through PUs there are many variables and complex dependencies that must be addressed by multiple stakeholders including mini-grid developers, financial in- stitutions and small to medium enterises (SMEs). Cottage industry activities tend to be easier to set up and generate faster returns from integration with clean energy solutions, than large, capital intensive PUs that tend to need more resources and have a longer break even period. Financial viability of any PU is essential to ensure the benefits reaped by the community are sustained and to ensure mini-grid developers can effectively provide the quality and quantity of energy needed.
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