Microgrids are booming as a tool for rural electrification.

But how do you get developers to sell more kilowatts, and thus make a profit?

TVs, radios, fans, and fridges.

However simplistic, these “beneficial electrification” assets are the ticket to inch up electric consumption at the household scale, while also enriching the quality of life for the individuals for whom rural electrification is life-changing. Similarly, the more kilowatt-hours a developer sells, the more profitable the microgrid, and in turn, the more microgrids he can build. According to development experts globally, electricity can and should yield a higher quality of life for people. Appliances are the route to accomplish this.

 

The State of the Off-grid Appliance Market report says that 30-80% of solar home system kits now include an appliance of some type, according to GOGLA.

 

You might already think of what is Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for solar, wind, and inverters, and 60Hertz. We are…. but we are more:

60Hertz is suited to support informal maintenance personnel — the individuals who sell, service and troubleshoot appliances from electric cookers, fridges, as well as community-serving devices like ice-makers, food dehydrators, or ATM machines. One 60Hertz contact, AE-Capital, is looking to increase the kilowatt-hour base through informal cinemas in one of their communities. Who is going to fix the movie projector just as darkness falls and the crowd hushes at 8p on a Friday night? 60Hertz can help the frazzled technician troubleshoot under pressure.

 

women installation

With more than 800,000 entry-level jobs expected in rural electrification globally, I believe that appliance repair is poised to be a juggernaut for female entrepreneurship. Just as Mary Kay, Tupperwear, or Cutco knives provided a vehicle for entry-level entrepreneurship in different sectors, so too with direct selling in emerging markets. The World Federation of Direct Selling notes that 118M people globally are involved in this kind of business model: 74% of them are women.

 

The Alliance for Rural Electrification’s Gender and Energy report has extensively documented that women are and need to be key players in decentralized energy. The report notes that women tend to spend more than 90% of the wages they earn on the well-being of their families and community. Males typically invest 35% of their income to these categories.

 

60Hertz is the only CMMS on the market that can scale and equip motivated energy entrepreneurs with the Standard Operating Procedures, troubleshooting tips, workflows, and documentation they will need to be successful at scale. Further, the 60 Hertz app is a tool to capture evidence of appliance failure and to make a warranty claim. Consumers must be given recourse in case of premature failure in order to retain confidence in the services. The platform can track the number of warranty claims filed, repair tickets processed, and similar customer metrics that will tell the story of beneficial electrification deployment and servicing.

 

Let’s ensure that women in newly electrified places have the tech support to build their own fortunes via the sale and support of useful appliances.

**Photos accredited to Rasmus Polen, taken during a project completed in Suriname jointly by 60Hertz and Inergy

 

About

Piper Foster Wilder

Piper Foster Wilder is a Humboldt Fellow and is former Vice President of Amatis Controls. She is committed to creating meaningful work for all people and enabling a transition to renewable energy while economizing the diesel that some must use. She holds multiple awards for her entrepreneurship and social impact initiatives.

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