The Connect initiative is defining a family of universal connectors and device-to-device firmware standards for enhanced interoperability of 12V SHS Kit and Appliance.
The predominant model in the off-grid solar (OGS) sector is that of non-interoperable systems – brand-specific connectors combined with proprietary digital protocols. For pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) consumers, this means they must purchase their solar home system kits (SHS Kits) and appliances from the same company. They are unable to use an appliance with another company’s SHS, or vice versa. For cash sale customers, this means limited flexibility and choice of appliances and a high risk of buying an appliance that is not compatible with their SHS Kits.
The Connect Initiative aims to create an off-grid solar ecosystem in which SHS Kits and appliances are interoperable i.e. that ensures that one manufacturer’s product can work with another’s. The initiative asserts that greater standardization and enhanced interoperability of OGS products can catalyse market growth and bring benefits to companies, consumers, and the environment. The adoption of universal guidelines could create a new dynamic, enabling specialisation, better AI & IoT integration, the development of new partnerships and business models, and fresh investment.
Alignment with the initiative is open and entirely voluntary for companies that see strategic value in enhanced interoperability. We believe that both vertically-integrated and supply chain specialist models can benefit from a more interoperable market without radical changes to their business models. However, we recognise it is not for everyone - we fully support a market in which both interoperable and proprietary ecosystems can co-exist and compete as part of the commercial landscape.
Many thanks to the Efficiency for Access Coalition which provided financial support via UK AID: