Understanding the Value of Off-Grid Lighting Products
Apr 25, 2016
Kat Harrison and Paula Berning
For any market to evolve and progress, information and insights are critical. The off-grid energy sector is still such a nascent market that there is even more opportunity to learn and develop for those working in technology design, supply chain management, sales, and distribution.
Operational data – sales and financial numbers – is just one part of the story. Having knowledge of who it is that the sector is reaching enables us to better understand our customers, identify their usage patterns and behaviours, and determine the opportunities for meeting more of their needs. In addition to this, measuring and tracking social impact allows us to understand the value that off-grid energy products and services bring to users’ lives, but also to attract funding/investment and policy change or support. What’s more when we can work together as a sector to have a clear, consistent and credible way of calculating impact, it enables us to have a louder voice in decision-making, unite us in our drive to serve those living off-grid, and give us credibility on our communication. It also helps to push energy access up the development agenda as we can clearly articulate the foundational role that it plays in so many facets of life: income-generation, education, health, and wider opportunities for more environmentally-friendly energy sources.
The GOGLA Impact working group has focused on building this resource. Since it was set up in October 2013, the group has come a long way: having created a framework and an initial list of impact metrics by which GOGLA members can calculate their impact in terms of people reached, money saved, carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions averted, and others. Our work now is to improve and develop the existing metrics, and to ensure that we’re providing a framework that fully represents the diverse scope of the industry players and GOGLA members. There will be a particular focus on expanding out the metrics to ensure solar home systems are better referenced, and we’ll be thinking about ways to capture the impact of access to products and services through different financing mechanisms i.e. PAYG.
As Chairs of the Working Group, we’re looking forward to working with our team to tackle these challenges to develop and deliver an even better framework so that ultimately, as a sector, we’re able to better understand, measure, and communicate the impact of our work with off-grid communities across the world.
We look forward to keeping you involved and updated.