Tariff Structures to Encourage Micro-Grid Deployment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Review and Recent Trends

Timothy Reber, Samuel Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


Purpose of Review: This article reviews trends for micro-grid tariffs in Sub-Saharan Africa from two perspectives: guidelines for setting tariffs and methods for structuring tariffs. Different approaches are briefly described, and general benefits and drawbacks presented based on recent experiences and available literature. Recent Findings: The pace of micro-grid deployment has suffered from a lack of private sector investment, which is often inhibited by unfavorable policies and uncertainty around tariffs. Traditional utility tariffs are too low to allow micro-grid investors to recover their full costs, but a variety of new approaches can be applied to address these challenges. Summary: Broad consensus suggests that cost-reflective tariffs are a critical enabler for micro-grid scale-up. Such tariffs can be coupled with subsidies or with hybridized approaches as well as unique new methods of tapping alternative revenue streams to maintain affordability for low-income customers and financial sustainability for micro-grids. There is no one-size-fits-all approach so long as lifetime costs can be recouped.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-7A40-71911


  • Energy access
  • Micro-grid
  • Mini-grid
  • Rural electrification
  • Tariff


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