Beyond the Grid: Examining Business Models for Delivering Community-based REPs in Developing Countries

CIGI Paper No. 130

May 24, 2017

Energy is a critical resource that links the factors of production and influences socioeconomic development in communities, and its importance in driving development within social and economic systems cannot be underestimated. It is, however, critical that energy development initiatives are linked to economic activity to stimulate socioeconomic development. This paper contributes to the discourse on global development through rural electrification by presenting cases on energy delivery for rural development in three developing countries on different continents. Specifically, this paper addresses the challenges around innovation in designing, financing and implementing sustainable business models necessary for delivering energy to rural communities in developing countries. The paper also highlights the importance of business models in attracting finance for rural renewable energy projects, establishes the importance of adapting business models to local conditions and specifies the role of innovation in scaling up sustainable business models to accelerate progress toward alleviating the energy access challenge in developing countries.

About the Authors

Chijioke Oji is a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. His current research focuses on developing innovative financing models for small and medium-scale renewable energy projects to alleviate the energy access challenge in developing countries and foster decentralized renewable energy production in developed and emerging economies.

Olaf Weber is a CIGI senior fellow and an expert on sustainability and the banking sector. He is currently a professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo and a University of Waterloo Research Chair in Sustainable Finance.