Powerhive offers key tools and services for implementing profitable rural electrification projects in energy access markets around the globe. Our technology platform is ideal for energy providers and developers of any size, and can be integrated with new projects or as a retrofit for existing mini-grids. As a complement to our technology platform, our experienced team can assist businesses with every step of development, deployment, and operations. We are the partner of choice for project developers, utilities, government agencies and other organizations that require scalable, profitable electricity solutions in under-served or off-grid areas.
Mini-grid operations management
Our cloud-based technology platform performs automated mini-grid management operations and gives energy providers total control anytime and anywhere. Powerhive clients benefit from streamlined account management and payment processing, secure single-client databases, data management and protection, and tools that allow operators to optimize performance and maximize revenue. Our user-friendly platform can be customized to meet the unique needs of any mini-grid energy provider, and our team is always available to offer technical support. We simplify mini-grid operations and reduce overhead so you can focus on growing your business and providing quality service.
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT
Market feasibility study
Conducting a rigorous feasibility study before penetrating an energy access market is one of the most important steps in minimizing investment risk. Our research team employs a well-tested framework to guide the analysis of dozens of market factors. It is usually necessary to visit the region under study in order to complement existing data with new primary research. Our analysts know what to look for and are sensitive to the idiosyncrasies that characterize energy access markets. In addition to providing you with a comprehensive feasibility report, we can recommend strategies for further risk mitigation.
Site identification and selection
We can rapidly identify the best mini-grid locations by using our proprietary SWARM software to remotely analyze sites based on financial, technical, and geospatial data. Whether an electrification project is for a single village or a large region, we can provide detailed site analyses that are ranked based on profit potential. When it’s time for ground-truthing and customer acquisition, our software will streamline the process so that your team can work quickly and efficiently.
Turn-key pilot deployments
Even with a comprehensive feasibility assessment, there is no substitute for a real market test. For markets that vary significantly from those with existing Powerhive systems, we strongly recommend implementing a pilot project to confirm whether the market is a good fit, and overcome any technical or logistical challenges before deploying a large-scale project. In our experience, pilot projects save considerable time and money over the long term. We can provide the necessary mini-grid equipment and oversee implementation of the pilot project from start to finish. Throughout the duration of the pilot, we provide detailed performance analyses and recommendations for improving deployment and increasing revenue.
Off-grid systems have different requirements than traditional power grids. We can design generation and distribution systems to meet a variety of customer and regulatory needs, and our modular designs allow systems to easily be expanded or grid-tied if desired. We have also developed turnkey electrical system references for a range of mini-grid sizes.
Our customer acquisition methods have been successfully field-tested and include sales materials, legal agreements, and processes to efficiently sign up large numbers of dependable customers with substantial electricity demand. In addition to residential customers, we target existing businesses that can boost revenue by transitioning to electricity and entrepreneurs who need electricity to start new businesses.
Procurement and logistics
Sourcing mini-grid equipment that is dependable, yet competitively priced can be a challenge. We have established relationships with best-in-class suppliers and can assist in procuring the requisite components for building a mini-grid that can always be counted on to perform well. Construction delays are costly, and our knowledge about relevant supply chain logistics will ensure that equipment is delivered on time so your project can stay on schedule.
Building a mini-grid business that is sustainable over the long term requires operators who know how to make optimal use of Powerhive’s software and are familiar with the operational realities associated with mini-grid management. In addition, field technicians who provide competent customer service and equipment maintenance are essential. Our training programs ensure that all operations personnel have the skills they need to operate successful mini-grid businesses.
Working closely with our subsidiary, Powerhive East Africa, we developed four pilot sites in Kisii. During construction we sourced local materials and leveraged local capacity when possible, which resulted in faster deployment and gave the communities a sense of ownership over the projects.
One of our most important objectives was to develop a clear understanding of consumer behavior, including the specific activities for which customers would use electricity, consumption patterns, and whether people would be reluctant to sign up for service. As predicted, the flexible payment model and low up-front commitment made it easy to sign up new customers.
A concern that has been raised by skeptics of flexible payment models is the potential for low and irregular consumption because customers are not bound to a regular payment plan. Kisii has shown that these concerns are unfounded – with few exceptions, people sign up for service because they need electricity to power their daily lives. The regularity and predictability of consumption allows revenue to be accurately modeled based on a few customer variables.
Although we expected Powerhive service to support income generating activity, we were surprised by the impact on our small business customers. In many cases they were able to boost revenue substantially, and we found that businesses can further increase output with the right appliances or other small machinery. In light of this, we’re working to improve access to financing for income generating equipment.
Kisii continues to be a testbed for our latest innovations, but the pilot has already demonstrated stable risk, predictable revenue streams, and enormous growth potential.