Linking household and productive use of electricity with mini-grid dimensioning and operation
Journal article, 2021

Off-grid systems, and mini-grids in particular, are expected to play a significant role in improving electricity access to one billion people until 2040. One of the major challenges for mini-grids is associated with their high costs, low financial viability and local development impact. Productive use of electricity can be an important driver of local development and impacts the total load in a mini-grid. By using a mixture of high-resolution (minutes) measurements and long-term data (years) on electricity expenditures and purchased electricity from a mini-grid in the Tanzanian highlands, we analyse the technical and economic impact from household and productive use of electricity, respectively. The high-resolution data is analysed using performance indicators and the long-term data using regression tools. We find that a mixture of household use and productive use of electricity provides both technical and economic benefits for the operator. In addition, we find that while productive use customers only represent 25% of the customers, they generate 44% of the operator's income. Furthermore, productive use of electricity customers are also likely responsible for the peak demand in the mini-grid, which occurs during day time. Lastly, we find empirical evidence suggesting that expenditures and demand are unit elastic, which has implications on economic policies for supporting rural electrification.

Load assessment




Rural electrification


Elias Hartvigsson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Jimmy Ehnberg

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Electric Power Engineering

Erik Ahlgren

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Sverker Molander

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Energy for Sustainable Development

0973-0826 (ISSN) 23524669 (eISSN)

Vol. 60 82-89

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories


Environmental Management

Energy Systems



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3/1/2022 2